This month we are going to have a look into the life of the black backed jackal. Here are a few interesting facts about these animals:
They are about 40 cm to 1 m long, they weigh between 7-10 kg and live for about 10 years. Their habitat is widely spread but jackals are highly adaptable. However they prefer to forage and rest in open veld where there is a good view of their surroundings. Their gestation is 2 months with 1-6 pups that are born in August – October.
These jackals prey on insects, rodents, small antelope and antelope and their calves, birds, fruit and carrion. Their natural predators are lions, hyenas, leopards, pythons and large raptors.
The blacked-backed jackal gets its name from the saddle of long dark hair on its back. The similar looking side striped jackal lacks this dark saddle and has a white tip to its tail. The black-backed jackal has a black-tipped tail. Jackals can be seen moving around at a bouncy trot. This is an energy-efficient gait for covering ground while on patrol. They will walk slowly if seeking sensitive prey.
Jackals are monogamous with a male and female pairing for life. They live in extended family groups. Pups from the previous year’s litter will stay in the parent’s territory and assist with raising the next litter. They perform duties including regurgitating food for the pups and the lactating mother, guarding the den and playing with or grooming the pups.