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African Wild Dog Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Lycaon pictus
  • Class

    Mammals
  • Order

    Carnivora
  • Range

    Once found widely throughout Africa's savannas, African wild dogs are now limited to small ranges within sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Habitat

    African wild dogs prefer savannas, but they can also occupy deserts and mountain areas.

  • Niche

    African wild dogs live and hunt in packs ranging from 2-30 members; a typical pack has seven-eight adults. These packs move widely over their range seeking prey. By cooperating in the hunt, these predators are able to capture much larger animals, including gazelles, impalas and even zebras. The cooperation of the pack extends to sharing food with sick or injured adults.

  • Life History

    African wild dog packs display a strict hierarchy, with both a dominant male and dominant female emerging. These two individuals are typically the only members of the pack to breed. Females compete fiercely for this privilege. Parenting duties are shared by the pack, with each individual contributing to protect the young and share food with them.

  • Special Adaptations

    African wild dogs display a variety of behaviors to reinforce their social bond. A notable one is the mid-day greeting, where pack members gather to vocalize and thrust their muzzles in one another's faces.

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