The jackal – a member of the canine family, and native to parts of Southeastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Mostly solitary animals by nature, these mammals are territorial, vocal and monogamous. Born hunters and protective over what is theirs, jackals are omnivorous and range in colour. To learn about these bushy-tailed canines, keep reading below for facts on the jackal.
Classification of the Jackal
The English term “jackal” is derived from French, Persian and Sanskrit descent, and is defined as “the howler.” There are three species of jackal, namely, the golden jackal, the side-striped jackal, and the black-backed jackal.
The body of this territorial mammal is clothed in either golden-, rust- or silver-coloured black fur, with their tails being bushy. Jackals are well-adapted for hunting, with elongated legs, curved canine teeth, big feet and fused leg bones. The make-up of their physique enables them to be well-adapted and well-suited for long-distance running. Jackals can maintain speeds of 16 kilometres per hour for long periods of time!
The Lifestyles of Jackals
Jackals primarily live and hunt in solitude or in pairs, but can sometimes be found in packs. They are monogamous creatures, meaning that they mate for life. They are highly territorial, and defend their territories by chasing after their contenders and marking their territory with either faeces or urine. As vocal mammals, jackals communicate via loud yells and growls. High-pitched howls are generally heard when prey is found.
As monogamous beings, they share territorial duties, with the female dealing with female predators, and males dealing with male predators. Leopards, eagles and hyenas are their most dangerous predators, with eagles being the pups’ most grave threat. The gestation period of the female jackal is between eight to nine weeks, birthing a litter of two to four pups. Once born, the pups are hidden away in underground dens, caves and rock crevices to protect them from predators. The mother will change the location every two weeks to prevent large predators from finding her cubs.
Pups are suckled and fed regurgitated food up until the age of two months. Once they reach the ripe age of three months, cubs begin to follow their parents, learning their territory and how to hunt by themselves.
Other Interesting Facts About the Jackal
- Jackals are crepuscular, meaning, they hunt mainly at dusk and dawn.
- They have a lifespan of about eight to ten years, living for up to sixteen years in captivity.
- Jackals are buoyant omnivores. They consume small mammals, amphibians and reptiles, birds, insects, scavenge kills made by larger animals, and also eat fruit and plants.
Jackals are remarkable and resourceful creatures, defined by their rich-coloured backs and wailing cries. Able to survive in even the harshest of conditions, they are not considered endangered and remain faithful to their monogamous pairing.
Are you interested in seeing the jackal in the flesh? Yingwe Lodge is situated just outside the Paul Kruger Gate, making it the perfect getaway destination for luxurious accommodation coupled with intrinsic wildlife. Be on your way to bush living today.