Today, we are looking at a cousin of our domesticated dogs and asking What Is a Jackal? Let’s find out some of the canine links.
The Jackal: Some Background
Table Of Contents
Jackals are medium-sized omnivorous mammals belonging to the subtribe Canina, which contains other species such as wolves and the domestic dog.
Though historically applied to a wide range of small canines, the term “jackal” is most commonly associated with three species: the closely related black-backed jackal (Lupulella mesomelas) and side-striped jackal (Lupulella adusta) of sub-Saharan Africa, the golden jackal (Canis aureus) of south-central Europe and Asia, and the golden jackal (Lupulella mesomelas) of southern Europe and Asia.
In addition to being predators of small to medium-sized animals, jackals are also skilled scavengers.
Their huge feet, fused leg bones, and long legs make them well-suited for long-distance sprinting.
They can maintain speeds of 16 km/h (10 mph) for extended periods of time and are capable of hunting small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
Jackals are nocturnal, with the majority of their activity occurring around dawn and twilight.
One of the most prevalent social units among them is a monogamous pair that guards their territory against intruding rivals by fiercely chasing them away and marking markers around the territory with urine and feces.
It is possible that the territory will be large enough to accommodate some young adults who will remain with their parents until they are able to create their own territories.
Jackals may occasionally congregate in small groups, for example, to scavenge a carcass, but they prefer to hunt alone or in couples when they are out hunting.
what do jackals look like?
Jackals are medium-sized mammals that are closely related to wolves. They have long legs and short, slender face. Their coats vary in color, and they have long bushy tails.
Their long, furry tails make them excellent runners.
They belong to the mammal family, Canis adustus. Their tails are usually black, though they can be found in many shades of brown.
A black-backed jackal stands 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 11 to 26 pounds. Several different species of jackal have been studied, with the common names denoting their distinguishing characteristics.
The side-striped jackal has a white stripe running from its elbow to the hip, and the golden jackal’s coat is pale yellow to pale gold. They have black, white, or gray stripes down their sides.
Jackals are devoted to their families.
It is most common to see them living alone or in pairs, but they can sometimes be found in loose groups of related individuals, where their activity is closely synchronized.
They are one of the few mammalian species in which the male and female are destined to be together for the rest of their lives.
Mates are territorial, and both the female and male are responsible for marking and defending their territories.
Litters typically consist of two to four pups. When the infants are born, they remain in the thickets or holes where they were born for the first few weeks of their lives.
It takes approximately 10 days for their eyes to open. Around three weeks old, kittens begin to spend more time outside with their littermates, where they can run around and play.
At first, the games are awkward efforts at wrestling, pawing, and biting, but they soon become more sophisticated.
They ambush and pounce on one other, play tug of war, and run after one another as their coordination improves. The mother shifts her den location every two weeks or so, making the young less vulnerable to being discovered by predators.
Until they are about two months old, jackal pups are suckled and fed regurgitated food by their mothers. They are able to hunt on their own by the age of six months.
Occasionally, puppies will remain with their parents and assist in the raising of their younger siblings. Considering that the majority of jackal pup deaths occur during the first 14 weeks of life, the presence of assistance boosts the likelihood of survival.
Do jackals howl?
The first thing you may wonder is whether jackals really howl. Apparently, these canines can make a wide variety of sounds, ranging from low-pitched whistles to a high-pitched howl.
They are similar in appearance to dogs, coyotes, and foxes, and look like a cross between a German shepherd and a fox.
Their short ears, delicate legs, and short tail make them reminiscent of the German shepherd, and their long alert ears recall the sounds of hunting dogs.
Generally, solitary predators but can hunt bigger prey together occasionally.
They usually hunt small antelopes together, and if they are not hunting a particular prey species, they also feed on reptiles, birds, and fruits.
They are a group of coordinated, astute hunters.
Jackals are best described as opportunistic omnivores who eat whatever they can get their hands on. They hunt tiny antelopes in groups and eat a variety of other foods, including reptiles, insects, ground-dwelling birds, fruits, berries, and grass.
In their search for food, they will pick over the carcasses of huge carnivores and even visit trash dumps to find scraps of meat.
Unlike big cats, jackals are not aggressive to humans. However, they are scavengers, feeding on the dead carcasses of other predators.
They are often seen foraging near abattoirs and tea gardens, where they can easily infect humans with the rabies virus.
So, it is important to take precautions when encountering a jackal in your neighborhood. And make sure you do not feed a jackal!
What kind of habitat do jackals have?
The golden jackal, sometimes known as the common jackal, can be found in open savannas, deserts, and arid grasslands.
Side-striped jackals can be found in a variety of habitats, including moist savannas, marshes, bushlands, and mountains.
The black-backed jackal, also known as the silver-backed jackal, is a small mammal that lives largely in savannas and woods.
Although a number of European countries are home to the golden jackal, the animal was previously restricted to areas east of the Balkans.
The population in this region was once estimated at 70,000 individuals in Europe. In its eastern range, it is not yet known how many golden jackals are living there.
However, it is thought that the population in these countries is low. Golden jackals often inhabit areas with plenty of cover and food.
The black-backed jackal inhabits dry woodlands and savannas. Their southern population lives in Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The species is incredibly difficult to cross.
The side-striped jackal prefers marshlands, swamps, and bushlands in temperate regions, such as the Savanna in southern Africa.
Their northern populations live in the forests of eastern Asia.
Wolves are bigger than Jackals!
The Jackal is a medium-sized member of the Canidae family of mammals. It is generally agreed that there are three varieties of jackals: the golden jackal, the side-striped jackal, and the black-backed jackal.
A wolf is significantly larger than a jackal in size.
Jackals are potentially dangerous to humans, however…
Jackals are a potentially hazardous predator. Jackals, like other members of the canine family, have a strong sense of territoriality.
They stake out a certain territory and mark it with their urine to serve as a warning to other jackals to keep away from the area.
It can become extremely hostile if another member of the wildlife group approaches a jackal’s area.
…Jackals Have Been Known To Become Pets Though!
Golden jackals that have been hand-reared can be tamed and kept as pets in residences. They become housebroken and behave in much the same way as a domesticated dog, with the exception of the fact that they remain wary of unfamiliar persons and will not allow themselves to be petted.