GOLDEN JACKAL/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus



DESCRIPTION: A medium-sized canid, the Golden Jackal’s scraggy, buff-grey coat is not as smooth as the fox’s, nor as dense as that of the wolf. The buff coat is interspersed with black hair especially on the back as if it has donned a grizzled coat while the head and sides of the legs are tawny red in colour. The underside, throat and the area around the eyes and lips are white. Pelage colour can vary seasonally from pale cream to tawny. The tail is bushy and medium-sized and has a black tip like that of the wolf and the Indian Fox. In comparison though, the jackal is one and a half times the size of the Indian Fox and only little more than half the size of the wolf. The jackal also has a shorter muzzle and overall smaller head than that of a wolf, with shorter legs, giving it a more compact look than the lean, long-limbed look of a wolf. Male jackals are nearly 15 per cent larger than females. Female have four pair of mammae. The four subspecies are not well studied in India. The Common Jackal, in the north–west, C.a. aureus is thought to be larger and paler with more sandy admixtures in its pelage. The Indian Jackal, C.a. indicus, in northern India is equally large but has more buff on the body and the grey is pronounced across the saddle, with black hairs predominating the tail and the back. The southern Indian subspecies, C.a. naria, is smaller, with a shorter coat. The back is almost black, speckled with white, and the limbs are more rusty in colour. The north–eastern subspecies is smaller but not much is known about its description.

BEHAVIOUR: A successful hunter, especially of rodents, the jackal has an undeserved reputation as a scavenger. Its eerie howls are characteristic of the Indian countryside and jungle.

DISTRIBUTION: Found throughout India except the high Himalayas.

HABITAT: Forests, grasslands, mangrove, urban and semi-urban areas. Tolerates human presence more readily than the wolf and is thus often seen around human settlements.

 Size: 76–84 cm

IUCN  Status: LeastConcern


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