African Wild Dog

Also known as the African painted dog due to its striking mottled coat.  Their Latin name Lycaon pictus means painted wolf.

We don’t see them often so therefore when we do it is something extra special. In the Pilanesberg the Wild dogs like to follow the fence line making use of it when hunting by chasing prey into the fence.

The African wild dog lives in packs and have very strong social bonds. The pack consists of a dominant male and female (the Alpha pair) and then the other subordinate members. Most of the breeding is done by the Alpha pair but the pups are cared for by the entire pack. Each individual has its own unique coat pattern.

As a pack they are one of the most successful hunters of the carnivores. They will chase down their prey until it can’t run anymore making use of their fantastic stamina.

Unlike many other species, once they reach maturity it is the males that stay within their natal pack while females move off to start a new pack.

Once the adults have eaten they will run back to the den in order to feed the pups and any adult members that were left behind. They do this by regurgitating chunks of meat.

The white-tip on the end of the tail works as a “follow me” sign. The light color means that it is highlighted and easier to see. The tail is also used to communicate an individuals mood to other members of the pack.

The sad truth is that like many mammals the African Wild Dog is endangered and their numbers continue to decline.

Here is a short video of the Wild Dogs just after they killed a Kudu.
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