Unusual features/differences from similar
base of the tail brown but darkens towards the black tip. The tip of the tail
of the side-striped jackal is
nearly always white.
Habitat and Distribution
Almost any habitat but not thick forest. The Black-backed
jackal is independent of water and is more common towards the
Eats a wide variety of food: rodents, hares, rabbits, small antelope and the young of larger
species, sheep, small carnivores, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, carrion, fruit
garbage. Frequently eats small portions of grass to aid digestion. Black-backed Jackals have such a wide dietary range that
the most unusual meals are taken. Here a Kalahari jackal made a midnight snack
of one of my boots.
Litters of 2-8 (average 5) is produced after gestation of 60 days, of which 1 or 2 survive to 14 weeks.
Pups are weaned at 8-10 weeks and begins foraging at 14 weeks.
Black-backed jackals are full grown at just over one years and sexually mature at 11 months.
They will not breed until paired up and established on a
territory. Lifespan six years. They are occasionally killed by
larger carnivores and regularly eaten by leopards and brown
hyenas. Both parents bring food for the pups, regurgitating the stomach
contents. As the pups mature food for them is carried in the
mouth. Mature individuals may stay in the parents' territory. Jackals are canny:
they very quickly
become wary of traps and poisoned baits. The learn from one another to avoid them.
Behavior and Habits
Active at dawn and dusk with activity throughout the day and night.
Black-backed jackals adapt well and
become more nocturnal in farming areas where it is hunted. They normally shelter at night in
holes and rest during the day in shade or suns in cold weather.
Carrion is detected with nthe excellent sense of smell and carrion can be
detected from at least 1 km downwind. The
calls of large carnivores at a kill attracts jackals and they may follow large
carnivores in anticipation of a kill.
Rodents are captured with a typical high-arching pounce
and pinned down with the
forefeet. They are swiftly bitten across the back and neck and killed. More
resilient prey is shaken vigorously. Carcasses are ripped open at the flank. The
softer and easier items such kidneys, liver,
heart and tips of the ribs are eaten. When with large carnivores on a kill, jackals wait
their turn or dash in and steal scraps of meat. They may pester hyenas
so much that the hyenas will abandon part of a carcass. Quick enough to avoid lions and
the are careful of cheetahs. Surplus food is hidden or buried.
Black-backed jackals live in mated pairs but are nearly always seen alone
although family groups of up to six
sometimes be seen foraging together. Mating pairs form at about three years old and stay together for
life. If one partner dies the other will find a new mate. Mated pairs are territorial
and males expel
males and females expel females from the area. Territories can cover 1 800 ha in size
with habitat. Both sexes scent mark with urine.
The long-range contact call is a typical African night sound: a distinctive wailing 'nyaa-a-a-a'. Each jackal has an
individually recognizable call. Large predators such as leopards are mobbed with a
persistent sharp yapping. A sharp bark or a rumbling growl is an alarm signal given by
adults to pups.
Cylindrical droppings with tapered ends are 1-2 cm thick.
The dung usually
insect fragments and bone chips. Dung is very often deposited in a prominent position.
sheep and lamb kills tooth marks are on either side of the windpipe spaced between
23 and 30 mm apart. Carcasses opened at the flank with kidneys, liver, heart and tips of ribs
eaten and no large bones broken.
leave claw marks and start feeding inside the back legs.