Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas
aka the Silver-backed Jackal Appearance
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. Resident
Black-backed Jackals are found throughout Kenya, mostly in areas receiving high rainfall. Longevity
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. Predators
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
, Wild Dogs and Caracals. Behaviour
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. Diet
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.