Our family got a golden retriever puppy this week which is very exciting. I have dogs on my mind at the moment, so today I want to write about African wild dogs.
Here are five interesting facts about them:
- Also known as the cape hunting dog, the African wild dog measures up to 140 cm long (including their tail) and can weigh up to 30 kg. They are also the only species of dog with only four toes on their front paw instead of five.
- The markings on an African wild dog is like a fingerprint, every one is unique and you can tell them apart by their spots and patterns. They lose their fur as they get older and the oldest dogs can be almost completely hairless.
- Despite their size, they are excellent hunters. They hunt during the day in large packs of up to 50 and have a hunting success rate of about 80-90%, which is much better than lions which are successful only about 30% of the time. They are very fast, have excellent stamina and communicate with each other when hunting. They are able to catch a range of prey, including antelopes, gazelles, warthogs, zebras, ostriches, hares and other animals. They can also catch very large prey such as common wildebeest and greater kudu which weigh 10 times more than the dogs. After catching their prey, they allow the pups to eat first.
- Only the dominant couple in the pack are allowed to breed and they have the largest litters out of all canids. They give birth to up to 19 pups at a time, although 10 is the average.
- They have large ranges and live in open grasslands and occasionally forests throughout Africa, with the largest populations found in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Thy are considered endangered due to hunting, disease, road accidents and competition with larger predators, especially lions and spotted hyenas.
I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.
Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about African wild dogs?