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jackal facts

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Jackals use howls, growls, barks and even barks to communicate with pack members.

Jackals are animals that make their home in different parts of Africa as well as European countries such as Greece, Romania, Italy and Bulgaria. They are omnivores, eating both plants and meat.

Male and female jackals are monogamous, meaning they spend their entire lives together and raise their young together. These canids can live up to 12 years in the wild.

5 Unbelievable Jackal Facts!

Types of Dingo
A group of jackals is sometimes called a pack or a tribe.


• Captive jackals can live up to 16 years.

• Jackals are animals that hunt in pairs rather than hunting for prey alone.

• A group of jackals is sometimes called a pack or a tribe.

• Jackals typically have a litter of two to four pups.

• These animals are canines, whose relatives include coyotes, foxes and wolves.

evolution and origin

The jackal's origins date back 5 million years to the west coast of South Africa. In fact, new fossils of a new species found off the west coast of South Africa shed light on the jackal's African origins. That means scientists can trace its history on the continent back 5 million years.

List of jackal types

There are four representative species of jackals. These species are:

  • Jackal
  • side-striped jackal
  • african wild dog

scientific name

The common jackal's scientific name is Canis aureus .

©iStock.com/Evgeny Meerson

The common jackal's scientific name is Canis aureus . The word canis means dog in Latin and aureus means gold. Therefore, it makes sense that another name for the common jackal is the golden jackal. Its family is Canidae, and its class is Mammals.

In addition to the common jackals, there are two other species, including the side-striped jackal and the black-backed jackal. The only differences between the three species are the color of their fur and the specific habitats they prefer to inhabit.

appearance and behavior

golden jackal.
The common jackal has a mix of yellow, brown and gold.

©Vladimir Kogan Michael/Shutterstock.com

The common jackal has a mix of yellow, brown and gold. Jackals' fur can darken or lighten with the seasons. If you have a dog, you may notice that its coat thickens or changes color with the seasons. A similar process occurs in these animals.

Jackals have elongated snouts, large ears, and even a bushy tail, which makes them look very much like foxes. Remember, foxes and jackals are close relatives! Jackals have four slender legs, a slender body, and black eyes that are always watching their surroundings.

Jackals are about 16 inches tall from the shoulders and can weigh anywhere from 11 to 26 pounds. If you put a No. 2 pencil on top of another pencil, you're looking at about the height of a common jackal. Alternatively, a 26-pound jackal weighs about the same as a medium-sized dachshund.

These canids are fast, with jackals topping out at 40 miles per hour. They can run extremely fast for short periods of time, or run at a slower pace for longer periods of time. This speed helps them catch prey and protects them from certain predators.

The color of their coat helps them blend into their territory. Think how easily a common jackal can disappear into the light brown grass of the African savannah! This camouflage helps protect it if a predator is in the area.

A jackal walking alone is likely to flee from a threat, while a large pack may hold its ground against a predator. A pack of jackals can even overwhelm a leopard or hyena. At the very least, a large group might be able to drive off a predator.

Read more  What Makes Animals Mammals: A Comprehensive Guide

These canines have been known to defend their territory using sharp teeth and claws to repel any intruders. The jackal's ferocious protection of its territory is a trait it shares with its cousins the wolf, fox, and coyote. Not only does it protect its own home, but it also protects all the pups in the area.

Jackals live in groups of 10 to 30. They are called groups or tribes. These animals are usually shy and will hide from sight by hiding in tall grass, in rock crevices or behind trees. The only time they show aggression is when their territory is threatened by invaders.

One of the most interesting things about jackals is how they communicate. In short, not all howls, growls, and barks are created equal in the jackal world. Members of an ethnic group or tribe make distinctive sounds in order to convey messages to their families. All jackal packs have their own voice, so families in the area don't get mixed messages!

A howl could mean the jackal has killed prey and wants everyone in the family to eat it. The screeching may alert other members of the wolf pack to the presence of a predator in the area. The side-striped jackal is said to make a call similar to that of an owl. This unique sound has earned it the nickname "o loo" in Uganda.

Jackal (Canis aureus) Jackal walking on the beach
While jackals typically travel in packs and will stand their ground against predators, a lone jackal animal will flee from threats.


coastal pine
Maritime pine is invasive in South Africa.


These animals live in Africa and some European countries. In Africa, they are found in the western and central parts of the continent in Senegal, Nigeria, and South Sudan. They also live further south in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The exact type of habitat jackals live in varies depending on which of the three species you're looking at. Common jackals or golden jackals live in savannas and deserts, while side-striped jackals prefer moist habitats such as swamps, bushes, and even mountains. Black-backed jackals live in woodlands and savannas. Although regions vary, all three species can be found in Africa.

The long legs and strong feet of these canines allow them to traverse long stretches of land with ease while hunting. Their claws can withstand heat as well as rough and dry ground. They use hearing and smell rather than sight to find prey.

They are mainly active at dusk and dawn. This way they can avoid moving around during the hottest part of the day. Like domestic dogs, they sleep a lot during the day.


What do these canines eat? These canids are omnivores, eating birds, berries, plants, rabbits, frogs, fruit, snakes and duikers. Some scientists refer to jackals as opportunistic breeders. This means they may steal the leftover meat of prey killed by another animal. Whenever food is found, they will take the opportunity to eat it, even if they are not hunting or killing it.

Typically, these canids hunt in pairs. This way they can work together to trap and take down prey. Although they have sharp teeth, these creatures are small, so it would be helpful for two jackals to cooperate when hunting — especially if they are chasing larger prey.

Predators and Threats

These canines have some natural predators, including eagles, leopards, and hyenas. All of these predators have great speed and/or strength, making it easy to catch a young jackal. It is not uncommon for eagles to fly down to catch young that are playing outside their nests.

Read more 

Sometimes, when their food sources are scarce, the animals invade farmers' fields and kill livestock. For this reason, some jackals are shot by farmers. Another human threat to them is habitat loss due to land development and construction.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the official conservation status of these animals is of least concern. In fact, their population is believed to be increasing.

golden jackal
golden jackal

© Tbjornstad – Public Domain

Reproduction, Babies and Longevity

This dog has only one companion in its life. The common jackal's mating season runs from October to March. The gestation period is 57 to 70 days. Gestation days for coyotes, foxes, and wolves are about the same.

Together, males and females find or build an underground nest where babies will be born. A female will give birth to two to four young, also called pups. Newborn cubs are very small, weighing less than a pound. Blind from birth, they were nursed by their mothers and ate a small amount of soft food. At ten days old, the pups' eyes open, and at two months they start eating solid food.

Because they are so small, the cubs are vulnerable to hawks, leopards and hyenas. In fact, many of these pups don't survive until they are 14 weeks old. As a way of protecting her young, the mother moves her young to different underground dens every few weeks. This makes it difficult for predators to catch and stay on the pup's scent.

Both mother and father care for the cubs, teaching them how to hunt when they are about six months old. A puppy may leave its parents at 11 months old and strike out on its own. Or it might stay with the parents and help care for other pups in other litters.

Jackals live 10 to 12 years in the wild. Wild jackals are prone to many of the same diseases that dogs can face. For example, they may be infected with rabies. Old or injured jackals are also more likely to be targeted by predators than young, healthy animals.

Of course, these well-cared-for canines in zoos or wildlife sanctuaries can live much longer, up to 16 years old.


jackal laugh
The common jackal in India numbers more than 80,000 individuals.

© SHASHIKANT TRIVEDI/Shutterstock.com

The common jackal in India numbers more than 80,000 individuals. However, scientists are not sure how abundant these animals are in Africa.

The jackal population is believed to be increasing. Its official conservation status is the least worrisome.

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Jackal FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a jackal?

Jackals are mammals in the canid family, whose close relatives include coyotes, foxes, and wolves. And of course, there are dogs. They are omnivores, known for hunting in pairs and eating anything they can catch or steal.

jackals and coyotes

While jackals and coyotes share many similarities, they are different animals. Jackals live in Africa and Asia, while coyotes live in the Americas. Also, coyotes are larger than jackals.

What is the Egyptian Jackal?

You may have seen Egyptian jackals online or in school textbooks in ancient history classes. The jackal was an Egyptian god with the head of a jackal and the body of a man. Historians believe this figure represents the god of the dead.

Are jackals carnivores, herbivores or omnivores?

Jackals are omnivores, so they eat both plants and meat. They eat a lot whenever they get the chance, but their most common foods are birds, plants, rabbits, reptiles, and duiker.

Read more  10 of the most amazing top predators from around the world

Where do jackals live?

Many jackals live on the African continent. They also live in European countries, including Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Italy. Some jackals live in savannas, while others live in swamps, deserts, woodlands, or mountains. A jackal's habitat depends on its species.

Are Jackals Dangerous?

Jackals can be dangerous. Like other members of the canine family, jackals are territorial. They mark a specific territory and mark it with urine so that other jackals don't enter. If another member of the wild animal community enters the jackal's territory, it can become very aggressive. Jackals will fight animals to defend their territory.

But most of the time, jackals will hide, preferring not to encounter people, including humans.

How strong is a jackal's bite?

Jackals have a strong bite. Sometimes jackals will drag their prey to another area with the help of a mate. In order to bring down a duiker or a large bird, the jackal must be able to subdue them with its powerful bite and sharp claws.

Do jackals eat people?

No, jackals don't eat people. However, if a person trespasses on a jackal's territory, they may be bitten or attacked as a way of getting that person to leave.

Think about the dogs that live in your neighborhood or town. Maybe you've seen him running around the fenced area around his home. If someone opens the gate and enters the yard, the dog may bite to defend its territory. This is how the jackal defends the territory it lives with its family in the African savannah or woodland!

To which kingdom does the jackal belong?

Jackals belong to the animal kingdom.

What door do jackals belong to?

Jackals belong to the phylum Chordate.

Which category do jackals belong to?

Jackals belong to the class Mammalia.

What family do jackals belong to?

Jackals belong to the family Canidae.

What order do jackals belong to?

Jackals belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do jackals belong to?

Jackals belong to the genus Canis.

What type of mulch do jackals have?

Jackals are covered with fur.

What is the jackal's main prey?

Jackals prey on antelope, reptiles and insects.

Who are the jackal's natural enemies?

Predators of jackals include hyenas, leopards and eagles.

What is the average litter size for jackals?

The average litter size of jackals is 5.

What are some interesting facts about jackals?

Jackals can maintain a speed of 16 km/h!

What is the scientific name of the jackal?

Jackal's scientific name is Canis Aureus.

What is the lifespan of a jackal?

Jackals can live 8 to 15 years.

How fast is the Jackal?

Jackals can travel as fast as 40 miles per hour.

Who would win a jackal vs a hyena fight?

A hyena would win a fight with a jackal because it was bigger, stronger, and had better tools to kill its enemies.

What is the main difference between a jackal and a fox?

The key differences between jackals and foxes are size, weight, fur, predators, prey, habitat, lifestyle and lifespan.

Thanks for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

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