Black-Backed Jackal | About and Facts

The Black-Backed Jackal (Genus: Lupulella) boasts a unique label of being the most basal wolf canine which means of living canines, this species began at the earliest of the evolutionary tree, almost unchanged since the Pleistocene, period (about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago).

Closely related to the side-striped jackal of sub-Saharan Africa, the black-backed jackal ie easily distinguished by its black and silver wisps of hair on its back and tail. The face is almost fox like with a pointed appearance and tall upright, pointed ears. A red tint in their fur adds to their fox-like appearance. The chest area and shoulders are typically white. It weighs 6–13 kg (13–29 lb) and 38–48 cm (15–19 in) to the shoulder. Females are partially smaller in size.

The black-backed jackal is also found in a different geographical location, inhabiting Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe in the south and Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, and Ethiopia in the east. They can also be found sometimes in the west such as Nigeria.

Habitat of the Black-Backed Jackal

Fossil evidence shows the black-backed jackal has lived in eastern and southern Africa for up to three million years. It is highly adapted to live in numerous terrains including deserts, though is often found in open savannah land and coastal areas.

Black-Backed Jackal

Social Habits and Hunting

Part of the jackals success, is down to not only its clever hunting techniques but also its determined scavenging and its position at the top of the queue. Crows and every genus of vulture steps aside for the jackal to have first turn eating at a dead carcass. The jackal is known to disguise its scent when stalking its prey by rubbing itself in scents of the local terrain that are familiar with its prey and of the prey itself. Four striped grass mice and rats are among its favourite prey.

Black-Backed Jackals hunting

In the early evening, the pack will one at a time begin to make high pitched wails which are answered in turn. When trailing a lion they’ll often make a repeated short bark which sometimes betrays a hidden enemy lion or other predator. They will sometimes growl among themselves and they call an alarm by an sudden cry followed by shorter, high-pitched yelping. The pack will often look for an adult antelope with a calf and while a few distract the adult or adults one or two will take the opportunity to pounce on the calf. They will even try to steal sea lion pups at coastal areas.

This species are monogamous, bringing up litters together often of several pups. One year old pups will often resist the temptation to mate themselves and remain in the family group to help bring up the next generation of pups.

Black-Backed Jackal
Black-Backed Jackal

Fantastic Facts About The Black-Backed Jackal

A group of jackals is sometimes called a tribe or a pack. They can trot, for miles to conserve energy and their kidneys are adapted so they can go without water for long periods.

Jackals in Literature

“Even the tiger runs and hides when little Tabaqui (jackal) goes mad, for madness is the most disgraceful thing that can overtake a wild creature. We call it hydrophobia, but they call it dewanee—the madness—and run. “Enter,”

As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

Wash daily from nose tip to tail tip; drink deeply, but never too deep; And remember the night is for hunting and forget not the day is for sleep.   

The jackal may follow the tiger, but, cub, when thy whiskers are grown, Remember the wolf is a hunter—go forth and get food of thy own.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Q & A

Do black-backed jackals only eat meat?

Black-backed Jackals are omnivorous so they are willing to eat many types of food including fruit.

Do Black-backed Jackals howl?

Black-backed Jackals have a distinctive howl often heard after night fall.

Do Black-backed Jackals stay with one partner?

Black-backed Jackals stay with one partner for life

Do Black-backed Jackals hunt alone?

Black-backed Jackals often hunt in pairs or more for a higher success rate.

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