Side-striped Jackal [Canis adustus]
The Side Striped Jackal (Canis adustus) is a nocturnal, dog-like carnivore, with a head and body length of 650-800 mm and tail length of 300-400 mm. Shoulder height 400- 500 mm, mass 7-12 kg. Timid and rarely seen the Side-striped Jackal is larger than the more common Black-backed Jackal. Grey to buff coloured body and with a darker back, the sides are marked with a white stripe with black lower margins. The dark tail is almost always tipped with white, whereas the ears are a dark buff colour. They are lighter in mass and do not have the distinctive saddle of the black-backed Jackal.
The success of this omnivorous species can be attributed to its ability to live off a wide variety of food, changing its diet in response to environmental conditions. Diet includes small mammals, carrion, fruits, maize, reptiles, eggs and birds. The Side-striped Jackal is less predatory than the Black-backed Jackal and unlike the BBJ, the SSJ do not prey on livestock.
Mating normally occurs during June-July, but some mating may take place throughout the year. After a gestation period of 57-64 days, four to six pups are born during August to November. Assistance with the rearing of pups is rendered by the previous year’s offspring. Excavated termitaria and old Aardvark burrows are commonly used as dens. Both parents assist with rearing the young after weaning. They bring food to the pups in the mouth or regurgitate it at two to three hour intervals throughout the night.
During the breeding season a pair remains in close proximity. It is a highly territorial species, and each territory is held by a monogamous pair and their recent offspring. Offspring will eventually disperse and find their own territories. The Side Striped Jackal inhabits open plains. They are fairly silent animals, except for an owl-like hoot, quite unlike the customary howl of the balck-backed Jackal. They are found singly and in pairs. Being nocturnal, they rest during the day in antbeaer holesor in thickets and are not often seen.
Where they are found
In South Africa the distribution stretches from Northern KwaZulu-Natal to Mpumalanga, the Northern Province and Swaziland.
The Side-striped Jackal feeds exclusively on fruit in season and will often dedicate its diet to availability during particular seasons.
The Side-striped Jackal seldom targets large prey and as such does not pose a threat to stock farmers that the Black-backed Jackal does.
The Bayei people fo the Okavango Swamps believe their appearance signals the presence of lion. Information gathered from http://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_side_striped_jackal.html and Signs of the Wild-Clive Walker