The African wild dog, once known as the Cape hunting dog, is unique among the dog family for its social behavior. Young, old, and injured dogs are all fed by the pack after a successful hunt. The African wild dog is a slender animal about the size of a collie. It has powerful skull equipped with strong jaws and sharp teeth. Its brightly colored coat is a mixture of black, yellow, and white, and no two dogs have the same coat pattern.
Habits: A pack of African wild dogs has between 6 to 20 members. The pack has no single leader. Instead, there is a clear division of labor, with some dogs guarding the pups while the rest go hunting. The dogs may also take turns leading the hunt. Wild dogs spend most of the day in their dens or resting together in the shade. In the early morning and evening, pack members engage in mock fighting before going hunting. Wild dogs are nomadic for nine months of the year. They remain in one place and only long enough to breed and raise their pups. During this time the entire pack defends its territory and feeds the young. At three months the pups are old enough to hunt with the pack..
Breeding Wild dogs breed year round in East Africa, but in other parts of their range they usually breed in the first half of the year. A female is heat marks an area that has selected her for a mate urinates in the same places. A few days after the pups are born, the female carries them around to the other adults in the pack which take turns licking them. Newborn pups are black and have scattered white spots. They develop their unique adult coloring when they are six to seven weeks old. At two to three weeks of age, the pups begin to eat small amounts of regurgitated meat. They are fully weaned at 12 weeks of age.
Food & Hunting: Once they spot prey, wild dogs charge directly into the herd and attack an animal. They kill their prey quickly once they have pulled it to the ground. A hunt usually lasts less than five minutes but may cover two miles. In East Africa the dogs primary is Thompson's gazelle, but they also hunt Grants gazelles. When hunting wildebeest and zebra the dogs cause a herd to panic so that they can isolate one or of the young. Bu the dogs do not attack adult zebras, which can kill a dog with one kick. In South Africa the wild dogs also eat domestic cattle, warthogs, and large and large antelope. The dogs feed together at the kill site before returning to the rest of the pack, where they regurgitate meat for the other dogs.
Key Facts: Sizes, Weight, breeding, lifestyle,
Length: 30 - 45 ft. Tail, 15 in.
Weight: 37 to 80 lbs
Sexual Maturity: 1 year
Mating: Year round in East Africa' spring and early summer in Zambia, South Africa, and Serengeti.
Gestation: 72 days
No of Young: Litter up to 6 - 8.
Habit: Lives in packs of 6 - 20. Nomadic most of the year.
Diet: Gazelles, zebra foals, warthogs, elands, young wildebeests, and domestic animals.
Life span: Average 4 years in the wild, and domestic animals.
Related Species: Related to all species of Canis, including the wolf nd the domestic dog.
Distribution: Throughout Africa from Sudan to the Cape of Good Hope, of grassy steppes and in Savannah country, but not in dense forests.
Conservation: In areas where hunting is permitted the wild dog is becoming increasingly rare. Still, in protected areas its role in regulating the antelope population is considered beneficial.
Calls of the African Wild Dog.:
In addition to barks and howls, the wild dog has developed special calls for particular occasions. For example, when an adult is separated form the pack., it repeats a bell like call for approximately. a minute. It then listens, sitting perfectly still. The rest of the pack recognizes the sound and quickly comes to find the lost dog.
A pup (with characteristically large ears), makes a soft, high pitched mooing sound.
Did you know?
The wild dogs brightly colored coats help them identify each other during a hunt.
During a hunt an adult wild dog runs at 35 miles an hour for several miles.
Wild dogs rarely dig their ow dens. Instead, they use holes dens. Instead, they use holes abandoned by warthogs or other large burrowing animals.
A pack of 20 wild dogs will eat nearly 90 pounds of prey every day.
Wild dogs rarely drink water; they usually get enough liquid from the blood and body fluids of their prey.
It was reported that the males of a pack with nine pups reared the pups after the only female in the pack died.
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