African Wild Dogs, Description, Behavior, Habitat, Diet, Characteristics of the body, Conservation, and Reproduction - wikipidya/Various Useful Articles

African Wild Dogs, Description, Behavior, Habitat, Diet, Characteristics of the body, Conservation, and Reproduction

 African Wild Dogs

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African-painted dogs are grouped with jackals, foxes, coyotes, wolves, dingoes, and domestic dogs in the Canidae, or true dog, family. They are often misidentified as hyenas. Hyenas, on the other hand, are distinct enough to belong to a separate taxonomic family called Hyaenidae.

African-painted dogs have four toes instead of five on their front feet, setting them apart from their canid relatives. The dogs have both speed and endurance thanks to their long legs and lean bodies. Large, rounded ears help dogs stay cool in hot weather and provide them with excellent hearing. Each individual dog has a distinctive pattern of white, black, and various shades of brown markings that give it its common name.

Even though their scientific name translates to "painted wolf," these canids are not wolves or dogs; instead, they are a distinct species that has been the only member of their genus for more than three million years.


Their camouflage-enhancing tri-colored fur has a mottled pattern of black, brown, and yellow. Each person's pattern is distinctive, and it might make it easier for pack members to identify one another. They weigh between 40 and 70 pounds and are 2.5 feet tall. In the wild, life expectancy is around 8 years, while in human care, it can reach 13 years.


African-painted dogs are very social creatures. A typical pack has between six and twelve individuals, including an alpha pair, related adults, and pups. The other animals play the roles of nurse, babysitter, hunter, and sentry while only the alpha pair reproduces. They are the best hunters in Africa, with a success rate of 70–90%. These dogs can take down prey that is much bigger than themselves when they cooperate. Their streamlined bodies and long legs help them run quickly and for a long time. Although they have a top speed of about 44 mph, they can maintain a 35 mph speed for up to an hour. Packs frequently travel 20 miles in a day and are nomadic.

Members of a pack engage in elaborate greeting rituals that take place several times per day and involve a variety of vocalizations, including squeals, whines, and twitters. As a result, aggression is uncommon among pack members. Every morning when the pack comes out of the den, each one greets the others individually. They play exuberantly while licking each other. One of the few species, painted dogs will tend to the sick, hurt, and elderly, even cleaning wounds and regurgitating food

The wild population of African painted dogs is thought to be less than 5,000, with the majority of them living in protected areas in Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. There are isolated populations in other parts of east and south Africa. Their decline is attributed to road accidents, infectious diseases, livestock and farmer conflicts, habitat loss, and fragmentation.


Their habitat in southern and eastern Africa includes grasslands, savannas, and lightly wooded forests.

African-painted dogs are common in wide-open plains and savannas, but they can also survive and thrive in denser bush and forest habitats. Each day starts with a greeting ceremony for painted dogs. As the family unit, or pack, prepares for the first hunt of the day, the dogs fill the morning air with excited chirps and twitters that resemble a flock of songbirds. Members of the pack run shoulder to shoulder, pause, and then leap over and dive under one another. The dogs seem to be "kissing," licking, and prodding each other's mouth corners.


The primary prey of these carnivores is antelope, such as impala, kudu, and duiker.

Two times per day, usually at dawn and dusk, African-painted dogs go hunting. The pack appears to be much larger than it actually is due to its disorienting coloration. As a result, the dogs are able to hunt more successfully than other African predators by confusing their prey. In fact, catching prey 70 to 90% of the time, African-painted dogs are among the most successful hunters in all of Africa. Lions, on the other hand, only succeed 30 to 40 percent of the time. The main fare for the dogs includes Thomson's gazelles, impalas, and puku antelope.

The dogs must consume their prey quickly to avoid being eaten by rival lions, hyenas, and vultures. A fully grown gazelle can be defeated by a painted dog pack in as little as eight minutes!

The fact that painted dogs hunt in packs to catch their prey accounts in part for their success. High-pitched vocalizations or squeaks that resemble tennis shoes rubbing on a gym floor are how they communicate among the pack. The "hoo" call is made by a dog when it becomes lost or separated from the pack. They can also communicate with other members of their pack by moving their enormous ears to indicate where to go or what to do. African-painted dogs do not howl, in contrast to wolves and domestic dogs.


Although they appear to be kinder within their pack, African-painted dogs' social structure is most similar to that of wolves. There are typically 5 to 20 dogs in a pack. In a pack, there is a dominant male and female known as the alpha pair. Nevertheless, the majority of the time the group gets along incredibly well. Sharing food is an essential aspect of pack life. The meat is consumed by adult dogs, who then regurgitate it for young children and injured or ill-pack members.

In a den, the dominant female typically gives birth to 10 to 12 pups per litter. The mother may construct her den in an aardvark, warthog, or hyena's underground burrow, or the pack may create one beneath a termite mound. While the mother is cooped up in the den with her young, the hunters bring food for her. Fortunately for the mother, while the rest of the pack hunts, some of the pack members remain to assist with childcare or guard the den and protect it against predators like lions and spotted hyenas.

At around four weeks old, pack members begin to feed the pups by regurgitating solid food for the young ones. Although they continue to use the den as a safe haven until they are up to 16 weeks old, they are typically weaned when they are around eight weeks old. The pack begins hunting closer to home for about three months after the pups are born so that food (the kill) can be brought to the den to feed both the pups and the den helpers, who are typically adult males. The hungry hunters step back and keep an eye out for other predators while the young eat first when the pups are old enough to accompany the adults to a kill.


African-painted dogs were once common throughout most of Africa south of the Sahara Desert, but they are now extinct in 25 of the 39 nations where they were discovered just 50 years ago. Once fairly common, packs of 100 or more dogs are now thought to be the second most endangered carnivore in Africa (behind the Ethiopian wolf).

The catastrophic decline in painted dog populations over the past century has been caused by a variety of factors. The majority of colonial governments established long-term extermination programs that offered rewards in exchange for painted dog tails because painted dogs were frequently seen as pests by Europeans. Up to 5,000 painted dogs were exterminated as part of such a program in Zambia between 1945 and 1949, which is equivalent to the current population of Africa.

Given that more and more territory is being occupied by people, habitat loss and fragmentation are additional issues for painted dogs. According to studies, an African-painted dog pack requires between 207 and 2,070 square kilometers (80 to 800 square miles) of space to roam and hunt. Unfortunately, the majority of African national parks are too small to support even one pack of painted dogs, and farmers and ranchers continue to murder family groups who live outside of protected areas.

The dogs can experience devastating epidemics if exposed to any of the diseases that domestic dogs can transmit, including rabies, canine distemper, and parvovirus.


The second-most endangered carnivore in Africa is the African-painted dog (after the Ethiopian wolf). Less than 5,000 are found in Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe's protected areas. In Mozambique, Kenya, and Zambia, there are isolated groups. Loss of habitat traps set by poachers, shooting by ranchers, and traffic are all blamed for the decline. Diseases like rabies and distemper, which are present in smaller populations, are a threat as well.

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