Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas)
aka the Silver-backed Jackal

The Black-backed Jackal is a dog-like animal, of medium build, with a broad black 'saddle' of black hair, interspersed with white/grey hairs. The 'saddle' narrows towards the tail, which is a very bushy affair that goes from red/brown to black at the tip. Its flanks, legs and underparts are red/brown, sometimes paler. The distinguishing feature of the Black-backed Jackal are its large, pointed ears, which are red/brown on the back, with white sprouting hairs on the inside.

Black-backed Jackals are found throughout Kenya, mostly in areas receiving high rainfall.

After a gestation period of approximately 2 months, a litter of between 1 - 8 pups are born (more usually 3-4). Black-backed Jackals are seasonal breeders and have their litters between July - October. In the wild, they live for up to 7 years and double that, in captivity.

Black-backed Jackals are persecuted by man, because they are livestock predators and carriers of rabies & other diseases. Aside from which, natural predators of the pups are Honey Badgers and Hyenas. Adults are predated by Martial Eagles, Leopards, Wild Dogs and Caracals.

Black-backed Jackals are seen singly, in pairs or family groups. Pairs form lifetime relationships and the previous litter often assist with the rearing of the current litter. Where human conflict becomes a problem, Black-backed Jackals will often become nocturnal. Otherwise, they are diurnal, foraging in the cooler hours of the day.
Pairs mark out a territory and defend it. Territory size varies, according to food availability and disturbance.
The Black-backed Jackal is the most slightly built of all Jackals - and the most aggresive. Hunting on its own, it will bring down an animal many times its own size.

Carrion is the Black-backed Jackal's preferred diet, although a wide range of both fruits and meat are taken, including insects, rodents, reptiles, birds and the young of other animals. They are not fussy eaters and, as my images portray, will badger even Cheetah for the leftovers of a kill. They are also attracted to the easy pickings of mans refuse. On the larger side, a single Black-backed Jackal is capable of taking down an adult Dik Dik, Thomson's Gazelle or even an Impala.

Photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara and Olare Orok Conservancy.

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Black-backed Jackal ~ Head Portrait

Head portrait of a Black-backed Jackal, reaching forward.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Lip-licking

Black-backed Jackal, walking, licking its lips.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Yawning

Male Black-backed Jackal yawning, with his tongue curved outwards, in the final rays of an African sunset.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Harassing Cheetah

A Black-backed Jackal, harassing a Cheetah for remains of a carcus.

Black-backed Jackal ~ De-ticking.

A female Black-backed Jackal, de-ticking her male partner.

Black-backed Jacal ~ "Thank You Lord"

A comical image of a Black-backed Jackal, looking to the heavens.

Black-backed Jackals ~ Grooming

A female Black-backed Jackal, grooming her mate.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Pack

Pack of Black-backed Jackals, running, Kenya, Masai Mara.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Shake

A Black-backed Jackal, shaking a yound Impala pelt.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Eating Impala Tail

A Black-backed Jackal, eating an Impala's tail.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Eating Impala Leg

A male Black-backed Jackal, eating the leg of an Impala.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Reflecting The Savanna

A Black-backed Jackal, eating a bone, Kenya's savannah reflecting in its eyes.

Black-backed Jacal ~ With Meal

A Black-backed Jackal, lying down, eating an Impala leg.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Running

Black-backed Jackal, running out of a ditch in Kenya, holding the rear-end of an Impala.

Black-backed Jackal ~ Posing

Black-backed Jackal, posing, with paw raised and tail outstretched.