While the Savannah presents fierce obstacles to most wildlife, perhaps no animal fills its niche here better than the jackal (Canis aureus). A member of the dog family, the jackal looks more like a fox, with its bushy tail and greyish-brown coat. Slightly built, able to range over nearly 200 miles, the jackal eats nearly everything the Savannah has to offer. Chiefly a scavenger, the jackal feeds on the remains of dead animals, but will occasionally hunt down small mammals. If animals are nowhere to be found, jackals will settle for a meal of lizards, insects, and even grass.
When it hunts for small mammals and insects, the jackal usually hunts alone. Preferring to hunt by night, it begins its hunt at sunset and ends at sunrise. Before starting its hunt, the jackal will howl. According to scientists, these first howls announce the beginning of the hunt. At dawn, the jackal will howl again. Pairs or small groups of jackals sometimes organize to hunt larger game, such as young gazelles or antelope.
Together for Life
A mating pair of jackals often stay together for years, and sometimes do so for life. The male and female both care for any pups that are born.