In the North Cape Province of South Africa females come into pro-oestrus during the last weeks of June (mid-winter). Mating usually takes place during the first two weeks of July. The aardwolf is highly promiscuous with dominant males often gaining copulations with the females of subordinate males in neighbouring territories. Copulation may last up to four hours although there is no copulatory tie. Females remain receptive for one to three days, but are normally not receptive after a copulation lasting more than three hours. A female will recycle if she is not fertilised (Richardson 1985,1987b).
The gestation period is approximately 91 days and mean litter size is 2.5 (range 1-4) (Anderson pers. comm., Richardson 1985, Koehler and Richardson 1990). In South Africa the young are born from October through December (Shortridge 1934, Stuart 1977, Richardson 1985), although with the warmer winters further north in Botswana and Zimbabwe the breeding season seems to be less restricted (Smithers 1983).
The cubs are born in dens, from which they first emerge after about a month. The den usually has a single entrance measuring about 25 cm high and 30cm wide (Anderson 1994). The denning period lasts four months, with dens being changed about once a month. After about nine weeks the cubs start foraging for termites near the den. After 12 weeks cubs will go foraging with the adults, but still stay within 300-500 m of the den. After four months they have been weaned and forage mostly independently throughout the territory (Richardson 1985, Koehler and Richardson 1990).
Males help in rearing the young by guarding the den against jackals, which are probably their greatest natural enemy. Although paternal care varies, during the first three months some males may spend up to six hours a night guarding the cubs while the female is away foraging (Richardson 1985, 1987b). The reproductive success of females that have males guarding the den is about 1.5 cubs per year, which is about three times greater than that of solitary females.