The aardwolf is slightly larger than a jackal or a fox and has long, slender legs and a long neck. Its sloping back is not as pronounced as in the three other hyaena species. The background colour of the body varies from yellowish-white to rufous. The throat and underparts are paler and can reach a greyish-white color. There are three vertical black stripes on the body and one or two diagonal stripes across the fore- and hindquarters.
The aardwolf's favourite food is insects, especially termites, which they help to control. Aardwolves cannot kill livestock, yet many aardwolves are killed each year because people believe they kill lambs. They are also killed indirectly through insecticide spraying. Aardwolves are family oriented, with males and females living together in a territory.