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A common name for coyote-like mammals in the genus Canis of the family Canidae, a jackal is a notoriously opportunistic carnivore and proficient scavenger that preys on small to medium-sized animals. Crepuscular mammals, jackals occasionally assemble in small packs, but normally hunt alone or in pairs.
See the fact file below for more information on the jackal or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Jackal worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ETYMOLOGY AND TAXONOMY
- The English term “jackal” originates back to 1600 and derives from the French word chacal, of Persian origin, which has Sanskrit roots, meaning “the howler.”
- German naturalist, botanist, and biologist Lorenz Oken described the similarities between jackals and coyotes, as mentioned in the third volume of his Lehrbuch der Naturgeschichte, categorizing these species into a separate genus, Thos, which is named after the classical Greek term “jackal.”
- In his 1932 monograph on mammals of Morocco, Spanish zoologist Angel Cabrera argued whether or not the presence of a lingual or palatal developmental lobe (cingulum) on the upper molars of the jackals and its corresponding absence in the other members of Canis could explain a subdivision of that genus.
OVERVIEW AND DESCRIPTION
- The genus Canis has about 7 to 10 living species and several extinct species, including wolves, dogs, coyotes, and dingoes. The jackal generally refers to members of any of three (sometimes four) small to medium-sized species of the family Canidae, native to Africa, Asia, and southeastern Europe.
- Jackals resemble a similar ecological niche to the coyotes of North America, acting as predators of animals, scavengers, and omnivores. Their slender legs and crescent-shaped canine teeth are well-adapted for hunting small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Their large feet and fused leg bones allow them to run long distances, capable of retaining speeds of 10 miles per hour. They are also crepuscular animals, most active at dawn and dusk.
- Among social units, jackals form monogamous pairs that protect its territory from other pairs by vigorously running after intruding rivals and marking landmarks within the parameter with urine and feces. Their territory may be large enough to house some young adults who are still with their parents until they set up their own territory.
- There are some occasions when these animals group in small packs to scavenge a carcass, but normally, jackals hunt alone or in pairs.
SPECIES: GOLDEN JACKAL
- The golden jackal (Canis aureus), also known as the Asiatic, oriental, or common jackal, lives in the north and east regions of Africa, southern Europe, and South Asia to Burma.
- It is considered the largest of the jackals, and the only species to live outside Africa, containing 13 recognized subspecies.
- Their short, coarse coat is usually yellow to pale gold and brown-tipped, though the color can change due to season and region.
- For instance, in the Serengeti Plain in Northern Tanzania, the common jackal’s coat is brown-grizzled yellow during wet season (December to January), turning pale gold in the dry season (September to October). Jackals found in mountainous regions may be covered with a darker shade of gray fur.
- Golden jackals reach 28 to 42 inches in length, with a tail length of 10 inches. It stands approximately 16 to 20 inches at the shoulder, weighing 15 to 33 pounds for males, which are 15% heavier than females.
- Scent glands are found on the face, anus, and genital regions.
- Among their ranges, golden jackals show a diversified appearance. Those living in North America seem to be larger and have longer carnassials than those in the Middle East. Moroccon golden jackals have paler coats and have more pointed snouts than golden jackals in Egypt.
- Golden jackals, unlike other jackal species, are more closely related to a “wolf” group, which includes the gray wolf, domestic dog, and the coyote, based on genetic research.
- Studies show that the mDNA of golden jackals from Africa are genetically linked to the gray wolf of Eurasia. This genetic evidence is consistent with the shape of the skull, which also indicates more similarities to those of the coyote and the gray wolf.
SPECIES: SIDE-STRIPED JACKAL
- The side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) inhabits central and southern Africa.
- These jackals are grayish brown to tan with a white stripe that extends from the front legs to the hips. They also have a dark tail that has a white tip.
- Side-striped jackals weigh 14 to 30 pounds, with males slightly larger than the females.
- Side-striped jackals are found in damp woodland areas, along with grasslands, bushes, and marshes.
- These jackals are social within small family groups, producing calls like yips, screams, and soft owl-like hoots to communicate with each other. They are also nocturnal, rarely active during the day.
- They feed on fruits, insects, and small mammals such as rats, hares, and birds.
- They also prey on the youngs of larger animals, such as warthogs and gazelles. Occasionally, they follow big cats to scavenge their kills.
- Their breeding seasons depends on their habitat; in southern Africa, breeding happens between June and November. Gestation period of side-striped jackals reach 57 to 70 days, with an average litter of 3 to 6 young.
- Baby side-striped jackals reach sexual maturity at 6 to 8 months old and usually start to leave at 11 months old. They mate for life, forming monogamous pairs.
SPECIES: BLACK-BACKED JACKAL
- The black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), also called the silver-backed jackal, is spotted in two regions of the African continent separated by 900 kilometers. One area includes the southernmost end of the continent including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The other region is along the eastern coastline, which houses Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
- These jackal species are recognized for their silverback fur extending from the back to the neck to the base of the tail. The black-backed jackal’s chest and underparts are on the white to rusty-white spectrum, whereas the other parts of their body are covered with ginger to reddish brown fur. Females are not as vibrantly colored as males; the winter coat of males turns into a reddish to an almost deep russet red color.
- Black-backed jackals stand 14 to 19 inches at the shoulder and weigh 15 to 30 pounds. Those found in the southern parts of the continent appear to be larger than their northern counterparts.
- Unlike other jackal species, black-backed jackals are more slender, with large erect ears and long pointed muzzles.
- They usually live in pairs that last for life, but often hunt in groups to catch bigger prey such as the impala and antelopes. They are also very territorial, and each pair reigns over a permanent territory.
- Their diets depend on the availability of food sources found in their habitat.
- They rarely scavenge and are considered as successful hunters. A black-backed jackal’s omnivorous diet includes the impala, fur seal cubs, gazelles, guineafowls, insects, rodents, hares, lizards, snakes, fruits and berries, domestic animals like sheep and goats, and carrion. When hunting, these jackals move with a familiar trotting gait.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the jackal across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Jackal worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the jackal which is a notoriously opportunistic carnivore and proficient scavenger that preys on small to medium-sized animals. Crepuscular mammals, jackals occasionally assemble in small packs, but normally hunt alone or in pairs.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Jackal Facts
- Introducing A Jackal
- Describe and Color
- Just Jackal Things
- Jackal Spotted
- Jackal Species
- Jackal Wiki
- Born To Be Wild
- Two Wild Dogs
- Canidae Family
- A Jackal’s Tale
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Link will appear as Jackal Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 4, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.