The word jackal has often been used to refer to many small-to-medium-sized species of the wolf genus Canis. Today it most properly and commonly refers to three species: the black-backed jackal, the side-striped jackal, and the golden jackal. The black-backed is considered a very ancient species, changing very little over the history of its existence. Here at Felidae we are happy to provide a home to several black-backed jackals, Jack and Daniel.
Jack joined our family on 20 September 2012 and Daniel in October 2015. While they were both raised by humans, Daniel prefers to keep his distance when approached. Jack, however, loves to receive all the attention he can get – especially belly rubs! During tours visitors are given the option to pet Jack, as well as take pictures with him.
Habitat: Typically these jackals prefer open areas with little dense vegetation. True to their scavenger nature, they can additionally live in farmlands, savannas, open savanna mosaics and alpine areas. Families typically remain living together for a period of time. Claimed territories may be large enough to hold some young adults which stay with their parents until they establish their own territories. Territories are marked by with a fecal and urine line on the boundaries!
Food: Jackals are opportunistic omnivores, predators of small-to medium-sized animals and proficient scavengers. They eat invertebrates, mammals, and even carrion, lizards, snakes and birds. They are not picky eaters and have been seen eating fruits and berries as well. Jackals may occasionally assemble in small packs, for example, to scavenge a carcass, but they normally hunt either alone or in pairs.
Characteristics: Black-backed jackals have long legs and curved canine teeth which are adapted for hunting small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Their large feet and fused leg bones give them a physique well-suited for long-distance running, capable of maintaining speeds of 16 km/h for extended periods of time. Jackals are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk. Their most common social unit is that of a monogamous pair which defends its territory from other pairs by vigorously chasing intruding rivals and marking landmarks around the territory with their urine and feces.
Breeding: Jackals have a relatively short gestation period of 60 days. Summer and winter births are lined up so that cubs arrive when food is most plentiful. While jackals reach sexual maturity within their first twelve months, most wait to breed until after their first year.
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