220px-Side-striped Jackal

The Side-striped Jackal (Canis adustus) is a species of Jackal, native to central and southern Africa. Unlike its cousin, the smaller Black - backed Jackal, which dwells in open plains, the Side-striped Jackal primarily dwells in woodland and scrub areas.

Description Edit

The Side-striped Jackal is a medium-sized canid, which tends to be slightly larger than the Black-backed Jackal. Its pelt is colored buff-grey. The back is darker grey than the underside, and the tail is black with a white tip. Indistinct white stripes are present on the flanks, running from elbow to hip. The boldness of the markings varies between individuals, with those of adults being better defined than those of juveniles.

The Side-striped Jackal's skull is similar to that of the Black-backed Jackal's, but is flatter, with a longer and narrower rostrum. Its Sagittal crest and zygomatic arches are also lighter in build. Due to its longer rostrum, its third upper premolar lies almost in line with the others, rather than at an angle. Its dentition is well suited to an omnivorous diet. The long, curved canines have a sharp ridge on the posterior surface, and the outer incisors are canine-like. Its carnassials are smaller than those of the more carnivorous black-backed jackal. Females have four inguinal teats.

Dietary habits Edit

The Side-striped Jackal tends to be less carnivorous than other jackal species, and is a highly adaptable omnivore whose dietary preferences change in accordance to seasonal and local variation. It tends to forage solitarily, though family groups of up to twelve jackals have been observed to feed together in western Zimbabwe. In the wild, it feeds largely on invertebrates during the wet season and small mammals such as the Springhare in the dry months. It frequently scavenges from campsites and the kills of larger predators. In the wild, fruit is taken exclusively in season, while in ruralised areas, it can account for 30% of their dietary intake. The Side-striped Jackal tends to be comparatively less threatening to game and livestock when compared to other jackal species. It typically does not target game exceeding the size of neonatal antelopes, and one specimen was recorded to have entered a duck's pen in order to eat their feed, whilst ignoring the birds themselves.

Social behaviour and reproduction Edit

The Side-striped Jackal lives both solitary and in family groups of up to seven individuals. The family unit is dominated by a breeding pair, which remains monogamous for a number of years.

The breeding season for this species depends on where they live; in southern Africa breeding starts in June and ends in November. The Side-striped Jackal has a gestation period of 57 to 70 days with average litter of 3 to 6 young. The young reach sexual maturity at 6 to 8 months old and typically begin to leave when 11 months old. The Side-striped Jackal is among the few mammal species that mate for life, forming monogamous pairs.

Subspecies Edit

There are six recognized subspecies of this Jackal.