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Black-Backed Jackal

 Black-Backed Jackal – Canis mesomelas


The Black-Backed Jackal is somewhat like a medium-sized mongrel dog. The top of the back and neck are black, heavily mottled with silvery white patches. The legs, flank and head are a reddish buff colour to rich chestnut red, separated from the mottled back by a black line. The bushy tail is the same colour as the flanks near the base and then darkens towards the black tip.  The ears are large, triangular and have rounded tips with a reddish colour on the backs. The muzzle is narrow and pointed. There are five toes of the forefeet and four on the hind; however, four toes on each foot mark in the spoor. Total length is 96-130 cm (males) and 80-125 cm (females). Average shoulder height is 38 cm. Weight is 6-12 kg (males) and 5,4-10 kg (females). 


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 Black-Backed Jackal – Habits, Behaviour and Social Organisation:                

The Black-Backed Jackal occurs in almost any habitat expect for think forest. Persist in peri-urban areas. They are most active at dusk and dawn, however there is some activity throughout day and night. They shelter at night in holes in the ground and rest in the day in shade or sunbathes in cold weather. These jackals are commonly seen alone however they live in mated pairs. Family groups of up to six are sometimes seen foraging together. Mating pairs form at approximately three years of age and stay together for life. Pairs are territorial; males expel males and females expel females.


Black-Backed Jackal – Food and Hunting:
The Black-Backed Jackal is omnivorous. They prey upon rodents, hares and rabbits, small antelope and the young of larger species, small carnivores, birds, reptiles and amphibians. They frequently feed on small potions of grass, presumably to help aid digestion. Depending on species of prey, prey tactics are different. Small rodents are pounced on and bitten across back and neck. When larger carnivores or feeding on prey, jackals may wait their turn and snatch scraps.



Black-Backed Jackal – Reproduction and Offspring:


Gestation: 60 days. Litter size: 2-8 (average 5) pups. Pups are typically born between July and October. Newborn dark-brown pups are born in burrows dug by other species; both males and females bring food to the young. Pups start to forage with parents when they are approximately 14 weeks old.  


Black-Backed Jackal – Population and Distribution: 
Very widely distributed in subregion but absent from parts of northeast and eradicated by farmers in other areas. In recent years, this jackal has reoccupied most areas from which it was eliminated up to the 1980s.


Black-Backed Jackal Population in Namibia:

Current population estimate is unknown.


Black-Backed Jackal – Conservation Status:
Unknown. Commonly killed for livestock predation, although to research has been conducted to determine percentage of Jackals who prey upon livestock.


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