WILD DOG/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus

WILD DOG

WILD DOG


DESCRIPTION: A uniquely Asian reddish brown forest dog, the Dhole has shorter legs, a more bushy tail, and a shorter, thicker muzzle than both the wolf and the jackal. Also known as the Asiatic Wild Dog, its general dorsal pelage colour is rusty red although, in India, it varies from having light sandstone tones in the west to brownish yellow in the north and rust–red in the south, the pelt turning  deeper further south. The undersides, chest, inner legs and lips have varying amounts of white or cream fur on it. The white hairs on the body increase with age in peninsular India and can be used to age the animals.  The ears are triangular, relatively large and lined with white fur inside. The tail is only russet at its base and is almost fully black, the black colour found otherwise only on the nose. It is anatomically unique from domestic dogs and other canids in having a fused toe pad next to the main pad on the forefeet, in having one lower molar less, the upper molars with a single cusp, and in having six or seven pairs of mammae. The legs are thin and long, giving rise to it being called one of the most ‘catlike canids’. Pups are sooty brown when born, turning russet in about three months.

BEHAVIOUR: Dholes hunt in packs whose numbers fluctuate in a given area over time and are efficient predators surrounding their prey, disembowelling it within minutes of the first catch and eating it almost on the hoof, cleaning it to the bones within a few hours. Their contact call during hunting is an infrasonic whistle, which can be heard very faintly.

DISTRIBUTION: Dholes are distributed patchily in the central Indian highlands, in the Himalayas and trans-Himalayas, in north–east India and the southern highlands. In the North–East they are reported from Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Assam. In the Western Himalayas they are reported from Ladakh. They are absent from the Terai.

HABITAT: Open woodland interspersed with grassy meadows. Dry deciduous, moist deciduous and tropical dry forest may hold the best Dhole populations in India, but they are also found in dry thorn, evergreen, semi-evergreen and alpine steppe forests. They are not found in deserts, coasts, hilly terrain and mangroves.

 Size: 88–135 cm

IUCN Status: Endangered

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