Monday, October 14, 2013

Golden Jackal

Canis aureus
Meet the Golden Jackal, one of the most widespread dog species on the planet!

Jackals are usually associated with the Continent of Africa, but did you know they live in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia as well?  There are a dozen different subspecies of this canine, which is a closer relative to Grey Wolves than it is to the Black-backed and Side-striped Jackals.

Golden Jackals are amazing at adapting to their surroundings. They can live in just about any habitat (except exceptionally snowy areas) and they eat a wide variety of foods. Carrion, fruits, birds, reptiles, antelope, and insects are just a few of the different things that these dogs will consume, depending on their location and the time of year.

Their social structure also varies as much as their location and diet. Some live in only small pair groups, while others have more extended families. The territory that they keep depends on location as well. Some groups have a very small range, while others will mark off a spot that encompasses 12 square km.

Because of their large range and their adaptability, Golden Jackals have a long history with humans. They appear in the folklore and mythology of many different cultures, for example. Anubis, the Egyptian god of embalming, has the head of a Jackal. Other Jackals appear in stories from India, where they are depicted as cunning and intelligent creatures. Golden Jackals also have had run-ins with livestock, and have been hunted for sport, and for their fur.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa, Europe, and Asia
Size : Body length around 47in (125cm) , weight up to 35lbs (16kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Canidae -- Genus : Canis -- Species : C. aureus
Image : D. Gordon E. Robertson, , Thimindu

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