African Wilddog - Spotted Hunting Dog facts
The African wild dog, also called the spotted hunting dog, was a vanishing species in Africa but is now recovering
Endangered species in parts of Africa
This species is considered endangered in Africa although they are still moderately abundant in Botswana and the Zambezi valley.
Field studies have shown that the wild dog is a highly intelligent and social animal.
Like most predators, it plays an important role in eliminating sick and weak animals, thereby helping maintain a natural balance and ultimately improving prey species.
Wild Dogs are undeservedly perceived as voracious killers of game and livestock.
The stereotype of the wild dog as a cruel butcher is slowly being replaced by a less harsh image
The pack has a communal breeding burrow and the whole pack co-operate in bringing food which they regurgitate for the young who first go through a begging ritual.
There is often a preponderance of male pups in a litter. They live for 10 – 12 years in the wild.
Wild Dogs live in socially complex packs composed of several related adult males and one or more related adult females originating from another pack.
Often only the dominant bitch will rear pups successfully.
Packs of wild dogs wander continuously never staying long in one place.
African wild dogs use their sense of sight, not smell, to find their prey.
They pay no attention to wind direction and they do not use cover when approaching their prey.
They can run up to 55 km/h for several kilometres.
Living in groups of 10 – 20 they are very efficient hunters using the open plains or savannahs and depend on their excellent eyesight and stamina to run down their prey.
They usually take the smaller antelope but packs have been known to take animals as large as the kudu or waterbuck.