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Jackal facts for kids

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A Golden Jackal - Powalgarh, Uttarakhand, India.jpg
Golden jackal
Scientific classification

Jackals are canids found in Africa and Asia. They are nocturnal carnivorous and eat small mammals, birds and reptiles. To hunt, they can run at speeds of 16km/h (10mph).

Jackals are monogamous (each male lives with only one female). A pair defends its territory from other pairs: they mark the territory with urine and feces. The territory may be large enough to hold some young adults who live with their parents until they have their own territory. Sometimes, jackals join small packs, for example to hunt a big animal, but normally they hunt alone or as a pair.

Jackals are not a clade. They have several times developed from canid ancestors. There are four species of jackals:

  • Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas) - the common jackal, live in many African habitats;
  • Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) - live in northern and central Africa and southern Asia;
  • Side-striped Jackal (Canis adustus) - live in central and Southern Africa;

A canid from Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis), is sometimes called simian jackal, but it is really a wolf. The Ethiopian wolf is one of the rarest and most endangered of all canids.

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