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Hunting and feeding behaviour of the African wild dog

24 June 2014

www.leopard.tvThe African wild dog Lycaon pictus was originally described as a form of hyaena Hyaena pictus by C J Temminck in 1820 based on a specimen from Mozambique, and was generically renamed Lycaon by Brookes in 1827. Lycaon is derived from the Greek word lykaios which means wolfish and pictus from the Latin word pictura for a painting or the Greek word picta for spotted. Specimens in the southern savannas have more white in their coats than in the northern ones. Ecologically, the African wild dog is the equivalent of the Asiatic red dog or dhole Cuon alpinus and the grey wolf Canis lupus as sociable, coursing hunters. Because it is highly mobile and occurs at low densities the wild dog has become the most endangered canid in the world. Its diet is less strictly carnivorous than that of a wild cat, it selects food opportunistically, will eat almost any fresh food that becomes available, rarely scavenges for fresh food only but does not eat carrion.

The wild dog is the only canid that hunts larger prey throughout the year. Prey selection depends on what is available but the main prey is a heribivore weighing from 15 to 100 kg. It exploits prey atrributes when hunting. For example, on the Serengeti Plains, Thomson’s gazelle rams are preferred to ewes as the rams have shorter flight distances because they are... (Become a subscriber for more)

 

References:

Bothma, J du P & C Walker 1999. Larger carnivores of the African savannas. Pretoria: J L van Schaik, pp 145 -150.

Ramnanan, R, L H Swanepoel & M J Somers 2013. The diet and presence of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) on private land un the Waterberg region, South Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 43: 68 - 73.

Skinner, J D & C T Chimimba (Eds). 2005. The mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 475 - 480.

Article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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