African Wild Dog (cape hunting dog)
Eastern Africa and part of the Sahel. Has been extirpated from most of western and southern Africa.
Most common in savanna and lightly wooded country, but it has the ability to live in a wide range of habitats from desert to mountain forest.
39 – 80 lbs; 27 inches at shoulder
Average of 10 pups per litter
70 - 72 days
Small to medium-sized antelopes. Thomson gazelles and young wildebeests are the chief prey in the open areas. Impala are the most common in wooded areas.
monkey chow, leaf-eater biscuits, fruits, and vegetables
Endangered. widely distributed but population density is very low. World population is most likely 3, 000 – 5, 000 in 600 – 1, 000 packs.
Competition with lions and hyenas. Disease from domestic dogs. There have also been organized extermination campaigns because they may take livestock. Habitat fragmentation is also a large threat due to the large home range of the dogs.
Ears are large and rounded to aid in heat dissipation, blood flowing through the ears returns to their body a few degrees cooler.
Live in social packs that range from 2 – 30 animals and average at 6 adults and various pups. 95% of their lives are spent in sight or within earshot of one another. Packs are composed of related individuals; females are related to each other and males are related to each other, but males and females are not related. The alpha male and female form a pair bond. The alpha female has offspring annually. Subordinate females rarely breed. All members of the pack help take care of the pups. The pups remain in the den for the first three months. During the early times the female stays with them and other members of the pack regurgitate food for her. The pups take 14-18 months before they become sufficient hunters.
Adults will regurgitate food for pups before they are ready to leave the den. When hunting in wooded areas the pack will fan out and flush out prey. The lead dog in the chase will attempt to grab the hind leg of the prey and then the rest of the dogs will move in. Their range is 600 – 1500 square miles. They have a very strong musky odor which may help individuals find the pack when they have been separated.
Submission is shown by exposing belly and throat to the dominant dog. Bonds between pack members are continually reinforced at 'greeting ceremonies'. Before a hunt, African wild dogs greet each other with leaps, grunts, squeals, tail wagging in morning and late afternoon. When angry or defensive, they produce a deep-throated low growl.
Can run up to 35 mph for 3.5 miles
Hunt mainly in the morning and evenings
Any interesting story/fact:
Considered the wolf of Africa. There is rarely fighting amongst the pack. Healthy members help take care of ill animals. After a prey item is caught, all members of the pack share the carcass. Disabled members eat right along side healthy individuals and the young receive regurgitated food from any female. Their extremely social behavior has helped spread disease quickly through packs which has made them very vulnerable. As of 2004 there were 123 dogs in captivity in North America, at 26 AZA zoos. Worldwide captive population is around 452.