A Pack of African Wild Dogs


African Wild Dog Puppy - Jeff Wendorff PhotographerThis is one of my favorite African animals! They have many colorful names (Painted Dog, Painted Hunting Dog, African Hunting Dog, Cape Hunting Dog, Spotted Dog, Ornate Wolf or Painted Wolf) and there is a bit of a push to have their official name changed to Painted Dog. The feeling is the name has given them a bad rap and they’ve been persecuted by locals and farmers to an endangered status.

They are amazing hunters having the highest success ratio for kills among the top predators. Wild Dogs have an 80% success rate on hunts compared to the King of Beasts, the Lion, at a measly 30%! They are also very supportive of the pack members. Weak and older members are given a portion of the hunt and often the youngest are allowed to eat first. Even the “nanny’s that are left behind to protect pups during the hunt are fed via regurgitation. OK doesn’t sound good, but they get their fair share!

In case you were curious:

  • Size: weight 17-36 kilograms (37-79 pounds). It stands about 30 inches (75 cm) at the shoulder, with a head and body length averaging about 40 inches (100 cm) and a tail of 12 to 18 inches (30–45 cm).
  • They have four not five toes on their forelegs.
  • Only the male and female alpha pair will produce the offspring of the pack.
  • Each animal’s unique coat is an identification marker because no two are alike.
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I didn’t have a GPS setup when I took these images, but they were all taken in South Africa’s Madikwe Reserve as shown on this map.

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