Side Striped Jackal

Have you seen the jackal on Fairview? Perhaps you have heard them calling to each other in the early hours of the morning?

Side-striped jackals have a slender build with a distinctive coat pattern characterised by a black or dark brown stripe running along each side of the body, from the shoulders to the tail. The tail is almost always tipped with white. Their fur is typically a mix of colours, including grey, tan, and white. The body mass ranges from 6.5-14kgs. They are dog-like in appearance and are nocturnal.

They are opportunistic omnivores, feeding on a diverse diet that includes small mammals, insects, fruits, carrion, and sometimes even birds and reptiles. They may also scavenge around human settlements for food and tend to change their diet in response to environmental conditions.

In contrast to certain jackal species that gather in larger packs, side-striped jackals usually inhabit small family units comprised of a monogamous couple and their young. They communicate with each other through a variety of vocalisations, including yips, howls, and barks.

Breeding usually occurs during the dry season, with a gestation period of around two months. A female side-striped jackal typically gives birth to a litter of 2-6 pups, which are raised within the family group. Both parents participate in caring for and raising the young.

Dug-out termite mounds and abandoned Aardvark tunnels are frequently utilised as dens. Both mother and father participate in nurturing the offspring post-weaning. They deliver food to the pups either by mouth or through regurgitation, typically at intervals of two to three hours during the night.

These jackals are commonly found in various habitats across sub-Saharan Africa, including woodlands, savannas, marshes, and bushlands. They prefer areas with dense vegetation for cover and access to water sources.

In South Africa the Side-striped Jackal distributions stretches from Northern KwaZulu-Natal to Mpumalanga, the Northern Province and Swaziland.

They are often spotted near Liesl’s paddocks or emerging from their den near the Raw’s home and we have heard them alarm calling in the early morning near our house. Next time you’re enjoying your early morning coffee, listen out for them.

Worried about your chickens? Keep an eye out for our next farming article to see some tips on keeping your chickens safe from predators.

We were lucky to witness the electrifying sighting of a side-striped jackal roaming through the lush orchards at site 110!

Photo credit: Pjmalsbusry