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(ärd`wo͝olf), carnivore of the hyenahyena
, carnivorous, chiefly nocturnal mammal of the Old World family Hyaenidae. Although doglike in appearance, hyenas are more closely related to civets (family Viverridae) and cats (family Felidae) than to dogs (family Canidae).
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 family. The aardwolf, Proteles cristatus, resembles the true hyena but is smaller and more delicate. It has less powerful teeth and jaws and five instead of four toes on its forepaws. The coat of the aardwolf is yellow-white with dark stripes; a ridge of hair extends down its sloping back. It is a nocturnal, burrowing animal, inhabiting sandy plain and scrub from South Africa to Angola and Somaliland. A shy animal, it feeds on small animals and insects, especially termites, and defends itself by emitting a foul-smelling fluid from anal scent glands. A litter may include as many as six cubs, but two to four is typical; gestation is around 59–61 days. Aardwolves are solitary, but several females with cubs may share a burrow. In captivity they have been known to live as long as 13 years. Aardwolves are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Hyaenidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Proteles cristatus), a predatory mammal of family Hyaenidae. The fur is light yellow-gray; there are six or seven transverse black stripes on the sides of the body and several transverse stripes on the legs. The fur is longer on the crest and forms a mane. The body is about 80 cm long, the tail is bushy (to 30 cm long), and the height at the withers reaches 50 cm. The canine teeth are well developed and the molars are simplified.

The aardwolf is found in South Africa. It inhabits open places in packs of five or six. It usually lives in earth burrows. The aardwolf feeds primarily on termites and other insects but also on murine rodents and small birds. It reproduces in November and December; each litter contains two to four young. [9–1481–1)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
Proteles cristatus. A hyenalike African mammal of the family Hyaenidae.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.