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Fun Facts About Black-backed Jackals

Shara Burger | Wildlife

Recently Chad Cocking shared some extremely adorable photos of the two Black-backed jackal pups he discovered at a den on Tanda Tula. We also posted a gorgeous video highlighting just what cuties these two bundles of fur are. 

 So, it seemed only appropriate to share more information about this species and explain how they survive their daily lives out here in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.  

  • Jackals are members of the canine family, which includes the wolf and dog. There are three species of jackals: Golden jackal, Side-striped jackal and Black-backed jackal, the latter being the most commonly found in the Greater Kruger region. 
  • Incredibly, there are fossil deposits which prove that black-backed jackals are one of the oldest dog species and remain almost unchanged for 2, 5 million years! 
  • Black-backed jackals are extremely vocal and often you can hear their high pitched wailing in the late evening. One animal will call and another will respond, creating a very eerie and melancholy sound. 
  • Jackals are animals that hunt in pairs, they are opportunistic omnivores, hunting small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians or scavenging from kills made by larger animals.  They will also eat insects, fruit and plants. 
  • In the wild jackals can live between 8 and 10 years, however in captivity they can survive up to 16 years. 
  • Black- backed jackals are life-long mates, producing between 2 and 4 pups in a litter. Amazingly, youngsters often act as “nannies” to the next litter, remaining with the pack for an extra year to help raise their siblings while suppressing their own need to breed. This incredible behaviour definitely helps the pup survival rates in black-backed jackals, as they are far more successful than any of the other jackal species. 
  • The indigenous Khoikhoi people of south-western Africa have an old folklore which tells of the black-backed jackal’s superior intelligence. The story goes that the black-backed jackal often travels in tandem with the lion, outsmarting or betraying his stronger counterpart by using his greater brainpower. 

 

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