African Wild Dogs

The wild or painted dog is a real favorite of mine.They typically roam the open plains and sparse woodlands of southern Africa, most particularly in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.The species was classified as endangered by the IUCN in 2016, as it had disappeared from much of its original range. The 2016 population was estimated at roughly 6600 adults, only 1400 of which were reproductive. The decline is ongoing due to habitat fragmentation, human persecution and disease.

These long legged canines have only four toes per foot. The dog’s Latin name means “painted wolf”, referring to the animal’s irregular, mottled coat, which features patches of red, black, brown, white and yellow fur. Each animal has its own unique coat pattern, and all have big, rounded ears.

The dog is a highly social animal, living in packs with separate dominance hierarchies for males and females. The females are dominant. The female has a litter of 2-20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack.

The dogs hunt in formidable, cooperative packs of 6-20 or more animals. Packs hunt antelopes and will also tackle larger prey like wildebeests. The average life span is up to 11 years. The dogs weigh 40-80 pounds, and are 30-43″ in size.

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