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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Golden Jackal Facts

Golden Jackal facts about the wolf-like canid native species also known as the Indian jackal.

There are three species of jackals primarily the black-backed jackal, the side-striped jackal, and lastly the golden-backed jackal. The size of these three species is comparable and similar to that of domestic dogs. The difference between a black back jackal vs golden jackal is that they are different in appearance. The side-striped jackals are duller in color. The golden jackal or the Canis aureus is popularly referred to as an Indian or Asiatic Jackal and is seen in coastal regions of Southeast Europe and also in various parts of Asia, mainly Southeast Asia and specifically, India. It is also seen in east Africa. In the wild, jackal species feed on eggs, frogs, fish, insects, fruits, and plants and also leftovers of other animals like tigers.

The golden jackal and tiger share a relationship of commensalism where the jackal alerts the tiger to kill and feeds on it. The jackal then feeds on the remains of the prey left by the tiger. This is however not a mutualistic relationship since the tiger does not intentionally provide anything to the jackal. In many instances, jackals are confused along with dogs however there are various differences between the two. The golden jackal had an ancestor wolfdog which is the reason for their skulls being similarly shaped, however, they are different species and have varied instincts of hunting. There exist seven subspecies of jackals and there are differences between each type. For example, the Eurasian golden and African golden jackal look similar but are extremely different in behavior. In this article, we will take a look at some fun and interesting facts about the golden jackal also known as Canis aureus. If you like this article then you may also enjoy reading gray fox and bat-eared fox facts articles.  

Golden Jackal Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a golden jackal?

The golden jackal is a type of wolf animal and was discovered in Ksar Akil rock shelter near Beirut, Lebanon, and is dated approximately 7600 years old.

What class of animal does a golden jackal belong to?

The golden jackal is a type of mammal and belongs to the class Mammalia, genus Canis, and kingdom Animalia.  

How many golden jackals are there in the world?

The exact number of golden jackals is unknowns, however, there are seven subspecies under the golden jackal. The golden jackal is capable of multiplying with both the African golden wolf and the gray wolf giving rise to mix breed of jackals who are born with stronger gene capacities.

Where does a golden jackal live?

The golden jackal can survive in coastal regions, tropical rainforests, savanna, and wetlands. Golden jackals are seen in southeastern Europe and Asia and part of South Asia and other parts of the world as well. Jackals are increasingly infringing on human settlements where they can be viewed as a danger to livestock and other species of animals and pests.  

What is a golden jackal's habitat?

The golden jackal range is in the open savannas, desserts, and arid grasslands. The black-backed jackals and the silver-backed jackal live primarily in the savannas. Jackals survive in the wild for almost 15 years. Golden jackal adaptations are impacted majorly due to variability and hybridization.

Who do golden jackals live with?

Jackals primarily live on their own, they are rarely seen living in packs in the wild. Mothers often stay near the young ones to protect them from predators but they are sole travelers in most instances. They hunt together and are likely to be more successful while hunting together.

How long does a golden jackal live?

The average lifespan of a golden jackal is eight to nine years and up to 16 in captivity. This depends on various other factors like their diet, environmental factors, and other reasons.

How do they reproduce?

Males and females reach sexual maturity at 6-11 months of age. Like wolves and coyotes, jackals interbreed with domestic dogs. The main social unit of the common jackal animals is a mated pair or a breeding pair. Jackals mate for life and both the parents equally take care of the offspring. The gestation period lasts 57-70 days. The female gives birth to two to four babies in an underground den to protect them from predators. The young golden jackal is born with its eyes shut and it takes about 10 days for its eyes to open. Pups start hunting at six months after which they leave their brothers and sisters and lead a life on their own.

What is their conservation status?

The golden jackal species' population status is Least Concern (not threatened) species by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). Their populations are mostly stable and are found in multiple regions.

Golden Jackal Fun Facts

What do golden jackals look like?

Golden jackals are yellow to pale gold, and brown tipped. They are primarily seen in grassy plains. Their face resembles that of a fox but the golden jackal skull is relatively smaller in size. It has a fluffy tail about one foot in length however, its color is similar to that of a German Shepherd. The color of the skin can vary from region to region. Their legs are delicate. The golden jackal horn is boney and cone-shaped which occasionally grows on its forehead on its skull, however, it is mostly hidden by the golden jackals' fur. It is often associated with magical powers.

Golden jackal dog hybrid exists in various regions which look similar to their parent species and are often confused for the parent breed.

How cute are they?

Golden jackals are extremely cute to look at specifically when they are small. They have short fur on their body but are wild beings and hence it's not advisable to approach them since they can cause harm.

How do they communicate?

They communicate via signals, howls, growls, hooting sounds, and even tipping. Golden jackals make their homes in different parts of the world. They have made a deep impression in the Middle East and play a significant role in many fables.

How big is a golden jackal?

Golden jackal males are 28-33 in (71-85 cm) and females are 27-29in (69-73 cm) which is two times bigger than a coyote at 76-86 cm, who are often considered similar to each other.

How fast can a golden jackal run?

Golden jackals can run at relatively good speeds. The golden jackal Canis aureus may travel 40-50 km sometimes appearing in villages as well in search of food.

How much does a golden jackal weigh?

Golden jackal males weigh 13-31 lb (6-14 kg) and females weigh 15-24 lb (7-11 kg). This depends on various other factors like their environment and dietary patterns as well.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male and female golden jackals are not addressed differently however there exist differences in size which help identify between the male and female of the species and are monogamous in nature.

What would you call a baby golden jackal?

A baby golden jackal (Canis aureus) is referred to as a pup. The young pup has closed eyes until 10 days since birth and begins to walk and go in search of prey post six months.

What do they eat?

The golden jackal diet consists of young gazelles, rodents, hares, ground birds, and their eggs, and if they don't find anything they feed on insects, fruits, and even plants of certain kinds.

Are they dangerous?

They are dangerous and physical contact should be avoided as much as possible. Golden jackals may also play a large part in spreading coenurosis and in some instances can impact humans. Golden jackals may be involved in the spread of rabies in the year 1979. These are just a few reasons people should stay away from jackals.

Would they make a good pet?

They are innately wild animals hence its not a good idea to adopt them as pets, moreover, they may be carriers of diseases and infections of various kinds hence you should be extremely careful to avoid any such issue. Their diet and environment too are native to the wild and adopting them as pets can cause considerable challenges to their health and survival instinct. Alternate species of wolf dogs exist which are available for adoption and you should consider these instead.

Did you know...

The oldest fossil record of the jackal species in Europe was found in Greece and is 7000 years old. This is part of the Eurasian golden jackal lineage.

They have excellent night vision to protect themselves from predators. Golden jackal predators include leopards, tigers, and Eurasian lynxes.  

You can find golden jackals in numerous protected areas across their range. The golden jackal is found in all of India's protected areas apart from those in higher areas of the country.

In India, the jackal has made an appearance in various famous tales and stories like the Panchatantra. The Panchatantra is stories that consist of mostly animal characters and is a moral-based story aimed at young kids but also enjoyed by adults. In most stories, jackals are represented as cunning and witty creatures.

Each jackal family has its own tipping sound that only members of their own family respond to. The side-striped species can hoot like owls and because of this, they are called 'o loo by the Karamojong people of Uganda.

What happens if golden jackals can't find prey to hunt?

If they are unable to find prey they can survive without prey, by simply feeding on the grass. Plants make up approximately 46% of their diet and being wild animals their digestion takes time. They have excellent night vision which helps them hunt at night as well.

How do golden jackals protect their pups?

The female jackal has a neat trick that helps to protect the pups from predators. Cleverly, the female jackal will change the location of the den every fortnight. Apart from this, both parents take care of all the basic needs of the young pup until they are ready to fetch and hunt for themselves. Young jackals then return to help their parents raise another litter or even help them train the young ones as they grow.

It's not advisable to go near them if you spot one, however, if you like you could visit a facility or a conservation center as well where they are present. The overall number of their population is presently unknown but increasing. Since their population trend is increasing, it's more likely for you to spot them easily or a variant of the same in their native region.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including fox, or fennec fox.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our golden jackal coloring pages.

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