The mandibular salivary glands of the aardwolf are twice the size of the glands of a similar-sized dog.

The aardwolf’s large glands are serous and mucous secreting, while the parotid, sublingual, and zygomatic glands are serous and mixed.

The mucous secretions provide a relatively thick and sticky substrate and facilitate the licking up of termites. In addition, the mucous could provide protection for the oral cavity and oesophagous from the termites’ terpene secretions, as has been speculated to be the case in myrmecophagous elephant shrews. It is not known whether the saliva may play a role in the detoxification of the terpene secretions in a similar fashion to the tannin-binding proteins found in the saliva of browsing ruminants.

Sources: (Anderson, 2004; Kratzing, 1988)
Image: Josh More



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