Side-striped jackals are found predominantly in tropical Africa ranging from 15 degrees North to 23 degrees South lattitude. They inhabit moist wooded areas in east, west, and central Africa, and have been known to inhabit areas as high as 2,700 meters. They do not, however, inhabit the rain forests of west or central Africa.
Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )
The side-striped jackal is easily distinguishable from its other jackal relatives. It is slightly more drab in color, and has shorter legs and ears. These jackals tend to be light gray to tan and are distinguishable by a white tip on their relatively dark tails. They tend to have a white stripe from elbow to hip and black side stripes which are not always conspicuous. This jackal species tends to be heavily built and is sexuallly dimorphic in size, males are somewhat larger than females. Males range from 7.3 to 12 kg, whereas females are seldom known to weigh more than 10 kg.
Range mass: 7 to 12 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
Habitat and Ecology
Side-striped jackals are most common in moister habitats. They inhabit a vast array of regions including moist wooded areas, savannahs and thickets, marshes, bushlands, grasslands, swamps and mountainous areas up to 2,700 meters. They are also common in cultivated areas and have been seen crossing major highways on numerous occasions.
Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; scrub forest
Side-striped jackals are more completely omnivorous scavengers than any other type of jackal. Their diet varies from area to area, however, they are generally known to feed mainly on insects, fruits, small vertebrates, carrion, and plant material. They catch various insects, mice, and birds by making a quick dash or pouncing action, but have never been recorded to run anything down. Rather, they tend to feed on the leftovers of other faster predators.
Animal Foods: birds; mammals; carrion ; insects
Plant Foods: fruit
Primary Diet: omnivore
Known prey organisms
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Status: captivity: 10.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Side-striped jackals are among the few mammalian species in which the male and female mate for life; hence they are monogamous.
Mating System: monogamous
Mating occurs every year just before or during the rainy season. This usually takes place from June to July, or September to October. Litters range in size from 3 to 6 offspring; however, evidence suggests that there may be some resorption of fetuses in the womb or other sorts of early reduction in the litter size, ultimately resulting in a litter of only 3 to 6. The average gestation period lasts between 57 and 70 days. Lactation occurs for 8 to 10 weeks. Sexual maturity is reached around 6 to 8 months and dispersal follows at 11 months of age.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 6.
Range gestation period: 57 to 70 days.
Range weaning age: 56 to 70 days.
Average weaning age: 42 days.
Average number of offspring: 4.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 274 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 274 days.
Parental Investment: altricial ; post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2004Least Concern
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
Despite distemper epidemics killing off thousands of jackals in the early part of the century and common trapping and poisoning during rabies outbreaks, no direct threat to the species is known. They are relatively rare throughout their range, but are not considered endangered. Conservation efforts have been made by incorporating Canis adustus into numerous national parks and reserves including: Serengeti National Park and Akagera National Park.
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
This species' dietary flexibility and ability to co-exist with humans on the periphery of settlements and towns suggests that populations are only vulnerable in cases of extreme habitat modification or intense disease epidemics.
It occurs in many protected areas across its range, including Niokola-Koba National Park (NP) in Senegal, Comoe NP in Ivory Coast, Queen Elizabeth NP in Uganda, Serengeti NP in Tanzania, Hwange NP in Zimbabwe, and Kruger NP in South Africa.
Occurrence in captivity
The species has been kept and bred in zoos, but it is not a common zoo exhibit and there are none currently listed on ISIS. Captive animals have been used in experiments testing rabies vaccine efficacy (Bingham et al. 1995).
Gaps in knowledge
For many years the only major studies on the species' ecology remained those of Kingdon (1977) and Smithers and Wilson (1979), with additional observations by other authors. In the last five years, studies conducted in Zimbabwe by the authors have gone some way to increasing our understanding of this jackal species, particularly as concerns their role in rabies transmission. However, in comparison with the better-known black-backed jackal, the side-striped jackal has a much wider distribution, such that there are large parts of their range for which no information on populations or status is available.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Jackals have historically been known to cause outbreaks of rabies as well as distemper. They represent reservoirs for both of these diseases and are often trapped and poisoned during outbreaks to prevent spreading. The obvious negative affect is the spread of these diseases to game animals, as well as to humans that come into contact with these sick animals.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Jackals are the subject of much superstition. In Kampala, their skin and nails are sold as fetish components to ward off evil spirits. In the Buganda tribe, their hearts are cut out and boiled as a method of treating epilepsy.
The side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) is a species of jackal, native to central and southern Africa. Unlike its cousin, the smaller black-backed jackal, which dwells in open plains, the side-striped jackal primarily dwells in woodland and scrub areas.
The side-striped jackal is a medium-sized canid, which tends to be slightly larger on average than the black-backed jackal. Body mass ranges from 6.5 to 14 kg (14 to 31 lb), head-and-body length from 69 to 81 cm (27 to 32 in) and tail length from 30 to 41 cm (12 to 16 in). Shoulder height can range from 35 to 50 cm (14 to 20 in). Its pelt is coloured buff-grey. The back is darker grey than the underside, and the tail is black with a white tip. Indistinct white stripes are present on the flanks, running from elbow to hip. The boldness of the markings varies between individuals, with those of adults being better defined than those of juveniles.
The side-striped jackal's skull is similar to that of the black-backed jackal's, but is flatter, with a longer and narrower rostrum. Its sagittal crest and zygomatic arches are also lighter in build. Due to its longer rostrum, its third upper premolar lies almost in line with the others, rather than at an angle. Its dentition is well suited to an omnivorous diet. The long, curved canines have a sharp ridge on the posterior surface, and the outer incisors are canine-like. Its carnassials are smaller than those of the more carnivorous black-backed jackal. Females have four inguinal teats. The side-striped jackal's dental formula is:
The side-striped jackal tends to be less carnivorous than other jackal species, and is a highly adaptable omnivore whose dietary preferences change in accordance to seasonal and local variation. It tends to forage solitarily, though family groups of up to 12 jackals have been observed to feed together in western Zimbabwe. In the wild, it feeds largely on invertebrates during the wet season and small mammals, such as the springhare, in the dry months. It frequently scavenges from campsites and the kills of larger predators. In the wild, fruit is taken exclusively in season, while in ruralised areas, it can account for 30% of their dietary intake. The side-striped jackal tends to be comparatively less threatening to game and livestock when compared to other jackal species. It typically does not target game exceeding the size of neonatal antelopes, and one specimen was recorded to have entered a duck's pen to eat their feed, whilst ignoring the birds.
Social behaviour and reproduction
The breeding season for this species depends on where they live; in southern Africa, breeding starts in June and ends in November. The side-striped jackal has a gestation period of 57 to 70 days, with average litter of three to six young. The young reach sexual maturity at six to eight months of age, and typically begin to leave when 11 months old. The side-striped jackal is among the few mammal species that mate for life, forming monogamous pairs.
- Canis adustus adustus (Western Africa to most of Angola) – Sundevall jackal
- Canis adustus bweha (Eastern Africa, Kisumu, Kenya)
- Canis adustus centralis (Central Africa, Cameroon, near the Uham River)
- Canis adustus grayi (Morocco and Tunisia)
- Canis adustus kaffensis (Kaffa, southwestern Ethiopia) – Kafue jackal
- Canis adustus lateralis (Kenya, Uasin Gishu Plateau, south of Gabon)
- Canis adustus notatus (Kenya, Loita Plains, Rift Valley Prov.) – East African jackal, East African side-striped jackal
- Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Atkinson RPD & Loveridge AJ (2008). Canis adustus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2008-11-12. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
- "Side-Striped Jackal". Canids.org. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Burnie D and Wilson DE (Eds.), Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. DK Adult (2005), ISBN 0789477645
- "Side-Striped Jackal". Botswana Travel Guide. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Side-Striped Jackal in the Kruger Park". www.krugerpark.co.za. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Canis adustus". Planet-mammiferes.org. Retrieved 2009-09-07.
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- The New Encyclopedia of Mammals edited by David Macdonald, Oxford University Press, 2001; ISBN 0-19-850823-9
- Cry of the Kalahari, by Mark and Delia Owens, Mariner Books, 1992.
- The Velvet Claw: A Natural History of the Carnivores, by David MacDonald, BBC Books, 1992.
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