We’ve heard of the aardvark and we’ve definitely heard of wolves, but an aardwolf? Sounds like a made-up creature straight out of J.R.R Tolkein’s series or a menacing evil minion from Harry Potter. Right? Most can’t make sense of this strange-looking animal with the body of a hyena, face of a raccoon and fluffiness of a Persian cat. Its name roughly translates as “Earth Wolf” in Afrikaan and can be found in various countries throughout Southern and Eastern Africa like Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Aardwolves are actually a very important species that contribute to the delicate ecosystem and closely resemble wild dogs. Now before you feel tempted to take the cute animals home with you, here are the top things you didn’t know about aardwolves (and why you should leave them be).