Game details:

  • Description The black-backed jackal also called the silver-backed jackal, is a medium-sized canine native to eastern and southern Africa.

Compared to other members of the genus Canis, the black-backed jackal is a very ancient species, and has changed little since the Pleistocene, being the most basal wolf-like canine, alongside the closely related side-striped jackal. It is a fox-like animal with a reddish brown to tan coat and a black saddle that extends from the shoulders to the base of the tail. It is a monogamous animal, whose young may remain with the family to help raise new generations of pups. The black-backed jackal has a wide array of food sources, feeding on small to medium-sized animals, as well as plant matter and human refuse.

The black-backed jackal is a monogamous and territorial animal, whose social organisation greatly resembles that of the golden jackal. However, the assistance of elder offspring in helping raise the pups of their parents has a greater bearing on pup survival rates than in the latter species. The basic social unit is a monogamous mated pair which defends its territory through laying faeces and urine on range boundaries. Scent marking is usually done in tandem, and the pair aggressively expels intruders. Such encounters are normally prevented, as the pair vocalises to advertise its presence in a given area. It is a highly vocal species, particularly in Southern Africa. Sounds made by the species include yelling, yelping, woofing, whining, growling, and cackling. It communicates with group members and advertises its presence by a high-pitched, whining howl, and expresses alarm through an explosive cry followed by shorter, high-pitched yelps.

The mating season takes place from late May to August, with a gestation period of 60 days. Pups are born from July to October. Summer births are thought to be timed to coincide with population peaks of vlei rats and four-striped grass mice, while winter births are timed for ungulate calving seasons. Litters consist of one to 9 pups, which are born blind. For the first three weeks of their lives, the pups are kept under constant surveillance by their dam, while the sire and elder offspring provide food. The pups open their eyes after 8–10 days and emerge from the den at the age of 3 weeks. They are weaned at 8–9 weeks, and can hunt by themselves at the age of 6 months. Sexual maturity is attained at 11 months, though few black-backed jackals reproduce in their first year. Unlike golden jackals, which have comparatively amicable intrapack relationships, black-backed jackal pups become increasingly quarrelsome as they age, and establish more rigid dominance hierarchies. Dominant pups appropriate food, and become independent at an earlier age. The grown pups may disperse at one year of age, though some remain in their natal territories to assist their parents in raising the next generation of pups. The average lifespan in the wild is 7 years, though captive specimens can live twice as long.

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