Jackals are a member of the canidae family. There are four species: the Golden Jackal, African Golden Wolf, Black-Backed Jackal, and Side-Striped Jackal.1 These dogs live in a variety of habitats, like open savannas, semi-deserts, grasslands, or shrublands. They stand around 16 inches tall and weigh between 17 and 25 pounds. They survive around 9 years in the wild.2


What Do They Eat?

Jackals are known as opportunistic omnivores. They mostly eat meat, but will take the opportunity to eat other things like vegetation or carrion when they come across it. Mostly they eat small mammals, birds, or reptiles.3 They’ll even follow big cats to eat the leftovers of their prey. When they hunt in packs, they’re able to take down animals much bigger than they are, like antelope or sheep.1


Family Dynamics 

Jackals can be found living alone, in a pair, or in an entire pack.1 Their packs can consist of anywhere between 10 and 30 jackals.3 They also mate for life.2 The mating season varies on the regions they live in. For example, in Africa, they’ll mate around October, while in Europe they’ll mate in December.3


When they reproduce, females will have around 2-4 babies at a time. Like wolves, they also keep their offspring in dens to keep them safe, but the big difference here is that jackal mothers will change the location every two weeks to keep them safe and away from predators.3


What Threats Do They Face?

Predator-wise, they face threats from leopards, hyenas, and eagles.2 The babies especially are susceptible to attack from eagles. Outside of their natural predators, they face threats from human expansion – roads interrupt their territories and they are killed because they’re thought to be a threat to livestock.2&3


You know who else are opportunistic hunters? Wolves. Check out our blog here.

All the best,
Chris & the WERC Team

Sources & Further Reading:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/animal/jackal

  2. https://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/jackal

  3. https://www.worldanimalfoundation.com/advocate/wild-animals/params/post/1279367/jackals