Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Jackals are animals kind of like coyotes, but they live in Africa, Asia, and Europe, instead of in the U.S., like coyotes do.  There are three different kinds of jackals, and then there's maybe a fourth kind, but now people mostly think it's a wolf rather than a jackal.  But I'll tell you about it anyway.

The kind of jackal that is the most common is the Golden Jackal.  It lives in parts of Africa, south Asia, and southeastern Europe.  None of the other types of jackals live outside of Africa, like this one does.  Also the Golden Jackal is the biggest jackal.  The people that study genes and stuff like that have decided that the Golden Jackal is actually more related to wolves, coyotes, and dogs than it is to the other types of jackals.  So maybe that's one of my very distant cousins in the photo!

Jackals mostly eat whatever they can find to eat.  This is called being an "opportunistic feeder."  I am an opportunistic feeder, too, because whenever Mom gives me some food, I take the opportunity to eat it!  But jackals don't have human moms, so they have to find their food themselves.  And what they eat is stuff like rabbits, birds, insects, rodents, fish, and monkeys.  Also they eat plants and they eat big, dead animals that got killed by lions and tigers.  Usually, though, they have to wait until the lions and tigers finish eating, and then the jackals eat whatever is left.

The next kind of jackal is called the Side-striped Jackal.  It's called this because it has sort of a stripe on its side, which makes it quite handsome, in my opinion.  These jackals live in central and southern Africa, and they prefer the woods rather than the open plains.  Side-striped Jackals like to eat fruit and veggies when they can find them, and if they can't, they eat small mammals and invertebrates.  Also they might visit people's campsites to see if they can find any yummy stuff there.

Here's another jackal, and it's called the Black-backed Jackal.  It lives in southern Africa and also in an area along the east coast of Africa.  This jackal will mostly eat anything, sort of like Barry or Mel will do.  Black-backed Jackals eat reptiles, birds, smaller mammals, carrion, people's garbage, plants, fish, and seals.  These jackals are more social than some of the others, so sometimes they get together in a gang to hunt antelopes, seals, or even sheep and goats.

The last one I'm going to tell you about is the Ethiopian Wolf.  In the past, people sometimes thought it was a fox or a jackal, but now they think it's more related to wolves, even though it looks like a fox.  Mostly, the Ethiopian Wolf lives in the mountains in Ethiopia.  It is an "endangered species," which means there aren't very many of them left.  But people are trying to save these wolves, mainly by vaccinating them against rabies.

The Ethiopian Wolf lives in packs, like wolves usually do, and each pack has its own territory, which they don't let other packs come into, unless it's mating season!  The packs are not so much for hunting as they are just social groups.  Ethiopian Wolves mostly eat rodents, such as the Big-headed Mole Rat and the East African Mole Rat.  Yum!  I wish we had good stuff like that here to eat instead of just squirrels and bunnies!  Maybe I should plan a trip to Ethiopia soon.