In the animal kingdom monogamy is the exception rather than the rule…
One of the cutest of all the animals out here in the bushveld is the Side-Striped Jackal; being small and secretive they are often overlooked. They are delicate creatures; light on their feet as they dance through the grass. These animals are a perfect example of monogamy gone right! They pair for life and maintain a territory which they mark with scat and urine. Being very vocal we often hear them barking away throughout the night. No predator sneaks past them undetected.
Old termite mounds are used as den sites and it is both parents who help rear the youngsters. A wonderful aspect of the Jackals breeding regime is that assistance of the pups is rendered by the previous year’s offspring. Being primarily nocturnal they run throughout the night foraging for anything they can eat. Upon finding adequate food they run back to the den and regurgitate for the pups. They will do so until the pups are old enough to come out and search for themselves in the grasslands.
Anything between 2 and 6 pups can be born and at anytime of the year. There does, however, seem to be a peak in births between the months of August and November. One large obstacle for these young pups is the high levels of predation by snakes, eagles and even Leopards.
In terms of what these little creatures like to eat: their diet is hugely varied. They are the true definition of omnivorous. In the wet summer months they predominantly feed on invertebrates and wild fruits; when the winter months arrive they switch to a diet based more on smaller mammals, often hunting together in their pairs. The diet of snakes, beetles, crickets, spiders, fruits, rats and berries is also supplemented by a fair amount of scavenging.
Although small, these little animals sure are brave…
They deserve attention for being able to make a living in such a hostile landscape.
Written and filmed by Adam Bannister