Aardwolf record for the East London Museum

On Tuesday 14 January 2020 a farmer in the Haga-Haga area contacted museum scientist Kevin Cole to report an aardwolf which had passed on due to injuries from domestic dogs. The specimen was collected yesterday and will be curated in the taxidermy department.

Reference: The Mammals of the Southern African Sub-region by J D Skinner and R H N Smithers

These nocturnal species (sometimes foraging in the late afternoon) are found across most of South Africa but not in the forested southern coastal regions. They habituate disused aardvark or old porcupine burrows and they may excavate their own holes if need be (they are avid diggers). They are entirely solitary and only have accompaniment when young cubs are around.

The aardwolf’s diet is mostly the harvester termite. Termites forage in dense concentrations for most of the year (exposed on the soil surface) and are thus a reliable food source. Illustrated below is the area close to where the female specimen was collected for the museum collection. Note the plethora of termite mounds in the surrounds.

Aardwolf country – these farming areas between the Kei Mouth road and the coastal village of Haga-Haga provide a suitable food source and habitat for aardwolf’s

These mammals have a total length of 90 cm and weigh just under 9 kg’s. One of the skull adaptations for a termite diet is a broad palate and bowed out lower jaws.

More information will be updated on this species in due course.

Reference: The Mammals of the Southern African Sub-region by J Skinner and RHN Smithers

About East London Museum Science

Conservation Biologist East London Museum South Africa
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