Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Proteles

The proteles or aardwolf is the least known member of the Hyenidae family, the one that includes the infamous spotted or “laughing” hyena. But while the spotted hyena is a large, dangerous predator, able to take on zebras and wildebeest, the much smaller proteles (up to 10 kgs) feeds almost exclusively on termites and other insects. It has very weak jaws and teeth and a long sticky tongue to collect its prey; it can eat up to 200.000 termites in one single night. Although harmless to humans, the proteles will defend itself bravely if harassed; the erectile mane on its back makes it look bigger and more dangerous than it really is, scaring away potential predators. Proteles are found in Southern and Eastern Africa.

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