Scientifically named Lycaon pictus, (painted wolf) the African Wild Dog is a large canid found only in Africa, especially in savannas and lightly wooded areas. Its other names are African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, painted dog, painted wolf, painted hunting dog, spotted dog, or ornate wolf.
This long-legged canine has only four toes per foot, unlike other dogs, which have five toes on their forefeet. It has large round ears and a distinctive mottled coat. The name "painted wolf," refers this coat with its patches of red, black, brown, white, and yellow fur. Each animal has its own unique coat pattern.
African wild dogs are very social creatures which live in packs usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair. The female has a litter of 2 to 20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack. The packs share food and have been known to assist weak or ill members. The dogs interact socially via touch, actions, and vocal sounds.
African wild dogs hunt in efficient, formidable packs of 6 to 20 animals. Packs hunt antelopes and will also tackle much larger prey, such as wildebeests.. An average adult dog will consume around nine pounds of live carcass each day, the equivalent of an Impala per day for a pack of 15 dogs.The dogs supplement their diet with rodents and birds.
The pack hunts during the morning and before dusk, and also are known to make use of the light of a full moon. Their goal is to draw minimum attention from stronger predators. Sometimes more powerful competitors, such as the hyena, steal their rewards, so they have learned to hunt and eat quickly.
African hunting dogs are on the endangered wildlife list. It is estimated that a mere 3,000 - 5,000 remain. Ignorance-based fear, traps, and domestic animal diseases are the biggest culprits, together with the fact that They are faced with shrinking room to roam freely in Africa. The loss of one dog can have a devastating effect on the whole pack.
There are a number of organisations around the world that work tirelessly to protect the African Wild Dog. The Wild Dog has been the focus of a major long-term study programme in the Kruger National Park since 1989, sponsored by the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
Would you love to encounter these beautiful animals yourself?
You can do just that at Leopard Mountain - a KwaZulu Natal Game Lodge with one of the most spectacular views in Zululand.
This Portfolio establishment is known for regular painted dog encounters on game drives.
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