An unmistakable call is that of the Side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) which is accentuated in camp during the cold crisp winter evenings, piercing the night air as its high pitch echoes and hollows, disclosing its whereabouts.
Its intentions are clear being a strictly nocturnal animal, spending the dark hours scavenging for food and opportunistically hunting smaller creatures such as hares and rodents. Hunting in pair’s yields better success. Side-striped jackals are highly adaptable omnivores and will also eat snakes, insects, fruits and berries. Diets can vary considerably depending on seasons and food availability. They are known to survive easily in and around human settlements, but in undisturbed natural populations prefer to inhabit savanna woodlands.
Side-striped jackals are slightly larger than Black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) adults measuring about 40 cms in height with an average weight of around 10 kgs. In the wild the longevity can be as long as 14 years. Side-striped jackals are monogamous and very territorial. Territories are marked with urine and scats. Mating usually occurs to coincide with rearing the pups during the rainy season, when between 2 to 4 pups are born in a litter. Gestation is approximately 60 days. Both parents participate in rearing the young after weaning, often regurgitating meat. Dens are typically found in termite mounds and disused Aardvark burrows. Young pups are preyed on by the larger eagles and all age classes are at risk from leopards. Sexual maturity occurs between 6 to 8 months.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the Side-striped jackal as “Least Concern.” Population trends are stable and are plentiful in number. Jackals are potential carriers of Rabies, Canine Distemper Virus and Canine parvovirus.
Facts researched from the internet, text by John Llewellyn.