Jackal - Thriving, Vocal Canine That Can Run
In North America, the most common wild canine is the coyote. In Africa and throughout Greece, the Middle East and down into the Indian Subcontinent, a similarly common canine group is known by the catchall name "jackal". The term has been incorrectly used in the past to describe a much wider variety of wolf and dog family species, but it is only meant to describe one of three species native to those geographical areas. All three of the major species: the golden jackal, the side-striped jackal and the black-backed jackal are all very populous and quite successful wild dogs.
Like the American coyote, jackals are opportunistic eaters. They will hunt small birds and mammals - even lizards, but also hang around the feeding territory of larger predators to steal kills, or pick up leftovers.
Fact: jackals are amazing runners, capable of reaching speed of 10 miles per hour (16 km/h) over extended, long distance runs.
Unlike their wolf-cousins, jackals rarely move in packs. While they have been observed banding together for particular tasks (running off a lion pride to steal some carrion, for example) they are generally prone to hunting alone, or with one partner.
Jackals have interesting vocalizations. Unlike the trademark howl made by wolves, or bark by domesticated dogs, jackals make a very wide range of interesting sounds including whines, growls, "cackling laughs", yelps and deep throaty yells.
Most jackals are around 28 inches (70 cm) in length, and weigh between 15-30 pounds (7-14 kg), depending on the specific species.