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African Wild Dog

African Wild Dog
Lycaon pictus


Canidae, the dog family.

Conservation Status:



East and South Africa.

African Wild Dog


Semi desert, savanna, woodland and dense scrub.


An adult dog will look for days for a lost pup or juvenile, calling out in a special vocalization and listening for a reply to bring the lost dog back to the pack.

They are the largest canids in Africa and have a hyena-like head with very large, bat-like ears. They are slender bodied and long legged and their tri-colored coat is short and coarse: black and white at birth, with tan patches developing during the second month. Patterns are unique to each individual.

These carnivores will eat almost anything they can catch and are extremely effective hunters, with success rates averaging 70% of all prey chased being caught.

They are intensively hunted and poisoned because of a largely undeserved reputation as killers of livestock. Other reasons for decline are loss of habitat and introduction of diseases such as distemper and anthrax.

Each pack has a dominant breeding pair which tends to remain monogamous. Gestation is approximately ten weeks and litter sizes can vary from 2 to 20. Females give birth in grass-lined burrows and pups remain in the den for three to four weeks. Once out of the den, they become the responsibility of the whole pack and can nurse from any female.

They can run incredibly fast and have been clocked at 37 miles per hour.

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