About the Author

Jess Shillaw

Guest contributor

Jess was born in Kwazulu/Natal but grew up in Cape Town. Having an innate love for all things wild but getting to spend little time in the bush while growing up, she headed straight for the Lowveld after school. She completed a guiding ...

View Jess's profile


on Why Do Wild Dogs Hoo Call?

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Senior Digital Ranger

Jess – thank you for outstanding photos and blog. The light behind the Wild Dogs is beautiful and silhouette (although straight out of Disney!) just fabulous. As usual you have given us a little more insight and learning into the wild life behaviour of those special creatures – the Hoo sound!

I have not heard it, but I imagine all reasons you mention are valid. I am starting another Ecotraining course and will ask what their ideas are………

Jess it is an amazing story about the wild dogs calling each other. To me it sounds as if they are calling to hear a response from the pack, because these two are now separated from the pack. I know you Jess love the wild dogs with a passion and I am so glad that you could hear and see them. Hopefully the alpha female has made her den on Londolozi for the third year in a row, that would be fantastic.

Interesting vocalizing. There were some “hoo” sounds in there along with others. I did find other videos/recordings of wild dogs doing only the “hoo” sound. The African Wildlife Foundations info on Wild Dogs refers to the call as “bell-like” and used as a contact call to the pack.
Nice photos. Especially like that silhouette!

Wild Dogs are certainly a very special treat for guests on safaris.
They are such interesting animals, their interactions are just amazing, as are their hunting skills.
I guess that there could be a lot more research till we understand their behavior better.
Your blog is a great help to understand them a bit more. Thanks for it.

Interesting reading Jess. I had just imagined the “hoo call” to be a means of communication regarding hunting strategy but understand now, it can mean a variety of circumstances. Good article!

Senior Digital Ranger

Intersting blog … it does look like they are contact calling to me, showing signs of concern/distress by putting their ears back, then putting them up to listen for a return call. Since a lot of their normal chatter consists of high-pitched chirps, I imagine they don’t carry very far. So they’re drawing deep into their lungs and trying to make as resonant a call as they can. A “bell” sound as Marcia Packer describes it below sounds about right …

This is unusual and in my gut I think it transmits a loos of a pack member

loss sorry cannot edit post

What a great moment to capture Jess..I certainly have never heard them hoo..ing. It seems a rather sad call and I sincerely hope that they were happily reunited eventually and not crying over the loss of a family member. Stunning silhouette👌🏻Thanks for sharing with us 🙏🏻❤️

Hi Jess, I’m a little late catching up with the blog. So, with over a month gone, I hope you get this email. So, my theory extends back a few decades to am album called “Live at Leeds”, in which a grea rock and roll band sang, “Whoooooo are you? Who, who, who, who? Whoooo0 are you? who, who, who, who?” And, in some stanzas, they add, “I really want to know.” I’ll give you 2 seconds to guess the name of that band. I think the wild dogs are honoring one of the great band legends of our times. So, it’s really a “Who” call, not a ‘Hoo” call. Nature is a very amazing and forgiving force.

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us

One moment...
Be the first to this photo
You and 1 others this photo

Filed under
10 April, 2798
Add Profile