Side-Striped Jackal at Dusk
Caption: Side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) in winter grass at dusk, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM; Focal Length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/100; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 400.
The sun had just dipped below the horizon when we came across this handsome side-striped jackal standing alone in the winter grass near one of the airstrips in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
We were nearing the end of our afternoon game drive and as this was my first sighting of a side-striped jackal, it made for a very satisfying end to the day.
Jackals are members of the Canidae family and as such are true dogs, together with foxes and African wild dogs. There are three jackal species: Black-backed (Canis mesomelas), Side-striped (Canis adustus), and Golden (Canis aureus).
The black-backed jackal is the one you’re most likely to see when on safari in Southern or East Africa, where they’re widely distritbuted and commonly viewed in protected areas.
Side-striped are more rare, occuring mainly in Central Africa, extending into East Africa and parts of Southern Africa, including Zambia. They are also more nocturnal than the black-backed, further reducing one’s chances of seeing them.
The golden jackal is found in Asia and throughout the North and Horn of Africa. I’ve yet to see one as haven’t travelled in those parts.
From a distance the side-striped jackal appears a grayish color, but on closer inspection a light-colored stripe, fringed with black, can be seen on the flanks. The tail is bushy, mostly black, with a white tip.
The black-backed jackal on the other hand is much redder overall, with a characteristic black saddle sprinkled with silver (below).
Although about the same height, it’s less stocky than the side-striped, and the ears are bigger. The long tail is black and bushy, without a white tip. For more about this attractive and often misunderstood animal, see our Jackal Information page.
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