African Wild Dog
|African Wild Dog|
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African Wild Dog has onyx black eyes, and medium length sandy brown hair with black highlights and a thin line of black down the middle of her bangs. Her ears are large and rotund, and fade from her primary hair color at the base, and accented on the tips. Her outfit consists of a white button-up shirt on top of an over-sized savanna camouflage undershirt, as well as a black ribbon around her neck. On her legs, she wears leggings patterned similar to her undershirt with cut-off jean shorts over them. Her feet are covered with white lace boots, and her tail has a black ring that separates it into two parts, white on the tip and sandy brown at the base.
In Real Life
The African wild dog is long-legged with massive jaws and large, bat-like ears. While they are similar to domesticated dogs, they differ in the number of toes that they have. The African wild dog has 4 toes instead of 5 that other dogs have. The Latin name for them means "painted wolf" which aptly describes the colorful coat of dark brown, black and yellow patches. Their tails are bushy with white tips that may serve to communicate with the pack during hunts. No two wild dogs are marked exactly the same, making it easy to identify different individuals.
Wild dogs live in packs of 6 to 20. If the numbers fall below 6, the hunting efficiency erodes. They usually hunt in the early morning and again in late evening, preying on gazelles and other antelopes, warthogs, wildebeests and birds. They may also raid domestic stock but as wild dogs seldom stay in one place for long, the damage they do is not extensive. Wild dogs are usually on the move over a very large range, covering some 900 miles. After a litter of pups is born, however, they limit their travelling and hunt in areas closer to the den.
The principle threat to African Wild Dogs is habitat fragmentation, which increases their contact with people and domestic animals, resulting in human-wildlife conflict and transmission of infectious disease. Even in large, well-protected reserves, or in stable populations remaining largely independent of protected areas (as in northern Botswana), African Wild Dogs live at low population densities. Predation by Lions, and perhaps competition with Spotted Hyaenas, contribute to keeping African Wild Dog numbers below the level that their prey base could support. Conservation strategies have been developed for the species in all regions of Africa, and many range states have used these strategies as templates for their own national action plans. These strategies are accessible at www.cheetahandwilddog.org.
- African Wild Dogs vote on whether or not to go on a hunt by sneezing, where if a majority of the pack sneezes they will go on the hunt. While dogs that are near the top of the pack hierarchy have more influence in this process, even they can be outvoted if enough dogs disagree.
1. "Sneeze to leave: African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus)".
2. "Lycaon pictus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.