Black-backed Jackal

(Canis mesomelas))

The Black-backed jackal is a foxlike canid with a slender body, long legs, and large ears. A black saddle intermixed with silvery hair extends from the shoulders to the base of the tail. A long, black stripe extending along the flanks separates the saddle from the rest of the body and can be used to differentiate individuals. The tail is bushy and tipped with black. The lips, throat, chest, and inner surface of the limbs are white.

Jackals can best be described as opportunistic omnivores. They cooperatively hunt small antelopes and also eat reptiles, insects, ground-dwelling birds, fruits, berries, and grass. They will pick over kills made by large carnivores and even frequent rubbish dumps in pursuit of food.

Black-backed jackals can be found in diverse habitats, living in coastal areas, deserts, and mountains. They prefer dry areas, avoiding wetlands and swamps. The area of their distribution includes 2 regions of Africa. These are the eastern part of the continent, reaching certain regions of Malawi and Somalia, and the southern part of Africa, including southern Angola.

Black-backed jackals are very resourceful and extremely adaptable animals. They are not aggressive towards larger animals and avoid humans. Black-backed jackals communicate, using scent marking and vocalization. They communicate with each other by means of growling, woofing, howling, and yelping sounds.

Black-backed jackals are monogamous, living together until one of the mates dies. Mating once in a lifetime, they are very selective about their choice. A pair of Black-backed jackals is a strong social unit: they closely cooperate, building shelter and finding food together.

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