It is not known why it occurred to scientists to name the earthwolves in this way; these animals have nothing to do with wolves. This is a special kind of hyenas, very unlike their relatives.
The appearance of an earthwolf
The earthen wolf is much smaller than its hyena relatives. This beast is the size of an ordinary dog: body length up to a meter, and height at the withers - 45 centimeters. An adult animal weighs up to 14 kilograms, but fatness depends on the amount of food available.
Something resembling a comb stretches across the back of this animal: the long hair that the hyena lifts up on end, in case of a threat, to appear larger. When walking, the beast rests mainly on strong claws. The beast has a powerful jaw and a wide tongue, but he is far from a fan of eating meat.
Earth wolves are very dedicated animals. Choosing a mate, they stay with her for life. If a suitable partner could not be found, the individual tries to stay apart. Hyenas can be collected in small groups if several females breed puppies.
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This species lives in Africa. Favorite places: savannahs, semi-deserts, plains and hills. These hyenas feed on termites. Excavating termite mounds is not in the spirit of these peace-loving creatures. In fact, their claws are not powerful enough for this activity. But this does not prevent these hyenas from being voracious: they can eat up to 300 thousand insects with a long sticky tongue per night.
Earth wolves, like other hyenas, are often seen next to carrion. But do not blame these animals for eating dead bodies. Animals only collect larvae and other insects, which, just do not mind to enjoy stale meat.
This species of hyenas carefully protects its territory from unwanted invasion. They lead a nocturnal lifestyle and change their habits only with the onset of winter, when daylight hours are reduced. When it is especially hot, animals prefer to hide in burrows, which they either dig themselves or occupy after other animals. After a few weeks, the individual moves to another place.
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These animals have excellent hearing and sense of smell. These are silent creatures, if they begin to growl or bark, someone will show aggression towards them. These animals are completely unlike their closest relatives - hyenas. Moreover, it is the hyenas who consider the earthwolves as easy prey.
Although the earthwolves form permanent pairs, there are times when one of the males defeats the other, the female chooses the winner. Moreover, the offspring will still be a regular partner. Pregnancy is about three months, after which 2-4 puppies are born.
Puppies are born completely helpless. Both parents take care of them. First, the mother feeds the cubs with milk, and then she teaches them how to catch termites. Young individuals remain with their mother for up to a year, then become independent.
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- The hair in the mane of an earthwolf is very long: on the shoulders, their length reaches twenty centimeters.
- Over a summer day, this hyena can walk up to 12 kilometers.
- Some scholars suggest that there is an as yet undiscovered population of these animals in Central Africa.
- Only one type of termite is the basis of the nutrition of earthwolves. Only this species comes to the surface, where it becomes easy prey.
Earth wolves and man
In the past, farmers hunted earthwolves, they believed that animals attack livestock. This accusation turned out to be false, and hunting for these innocent animals became less. Now the maximum threat to these animals is insecticides, which are used in the fight against insect pests.
Fortunately, extinction of pretty animals does not threaten. However, their habitats are constantly being plowed up, and the population of their favorite food, termites, is declining. In order not to lose these cute creatures, you need to now think about animal protection measures.