Wild Dog - Lycaon Pictus

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Wild Dog - Lycaon Pictus | Cape Fox - Vulpes chama | Black-backed Jackal - Canis mesomelas | Bat-eared Fox - Otocyon megalotis | Side-striped Jackal - Canis adustus


Afrikaans Wildehond Zulu Nkontshane Tswana Letlhalerwa Shangaan Hlolwa Shona Mhumhi

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8 cm


7 cm, often contains hair

Unusual features/differences from similar animals

Every wild dog has a unique pattern like a human iris or fingerprint. No dew claws exist on the front legs

Male/Female Differences

 Males are slightly bigger than females.


Very wide ranging. Only very large protected areas can maintain viable wild dog populations. Open grasslands and open woodland. The threat of predation by lions keeps wild dogs out of suitable areas


Main prey is antelope in the 15-50 kg range, such as impala; kudu, as well as smaller prey like hares, warthogs and bat-eared foxes. Wild dogs do not hunt adult wildebeest and zebra because they stand their ground against the wild dogs. Very rarely scavenges.


Only the dominant pair of the pack breeds, but a second female can give birth to litters with more than one father. Litters of 12-21 pups are born in May-June after a gestation of 70 days. Eats regurgitated meat at 2-3 weeks and are weaned at 5-10 weeks. When prey is abundant wild dog populations can increase quickly.

Behavior and Habits

Packs normally hunt by day and also sometimes in moonlight but are are most active in the early morning and evening.They use roads in game reserves to gain advantage over prey. The prey animal is chased for over 4 km (most chases are 1-3 km) and are killed by disembowelment and dismembering. Pack members separated from the pack find their way back to it by smell.

An alpha pair dominate the pack and only they mark their areas with urine. Packs have home ranges of 400-1100 km. Pups are born and raised in the underground den. All pack members care for the pups. Pups start running with the pack at 3 months and join hunts at 14 months.


A bird-like 'whooo' which carries for 2-3 km, used as a long-range contact call. Twittering sounds during social interactions. The alarm call is a short, deep, growly bark. Puppies whine in distress.

Dung and Field Sign

Dung 7 cm long and very often contains hair.


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