Name: Jackal
Scientific Name: Canis Mesomelas

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Description

The main characteristic of the black-backed jackal, which gives it its name, is the black hair running from the back of the neck to the tail. The chest is white, and the under parts are white to rusty-white, whereas the rest of the body ranges from reddish brown to ginger in appearance. The head is dog-like, with a pointed muzzle and high pointed ears. The winter coat of male adults develops a reddish to an almost deep russet red color. Females tend to be less richly colored. Sexual dimorphism does exist; males tend to be larger than females, but this difference is small. The jackal is much like the coyote of North America and is given about the same respect as his American counterpart is afforded. Farmers and ranchers alike are intent on driving their numbers down, as they prey relentlessly on young antelope.

Habitat

The habitat of the black-backed jackal is quite variable ranging from small cities and the suburbs of large cities to the Namib desert. They tend to be more common in dry areas. These jackals are associated with open terrain and not forest or heavy brush. This species can scavenge in an area where bigger game is hunted and killed or it can feed off the remnants of human handouts. Furthermore, in the open grasslands of today, human development in the form of agriculture provides an additional source of food for this species.

Distribution

The black-backed jackal can be found only in Africa. The species lives in two discrete areas separated by roughly 560 miles. One region includes the southern-most tip of the continent including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

Size

The Black-backed Jackal is typically 14-19 inches high at the shoulder, 45-90 centimeters long.

Lifespan

10-12 years in the wild. 12-14 years in captivity.

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