Side-Striped Jackal (''Canis adustus adustus'')
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Jackal Subspecies Map. See also: world species map.
Side-Striped Jackal, Bweha miraba (Swahili)
Central and Southern Africa (virtually everywhere excepting the northernmost states, the northeast coast, and the southern tip).
The Side-Striped Jackal is medium-sized, similar to the Black-Backed Jackal. It weighs from 15.4 - 26.4 lbs (7 - 12 kg) and is 15.75 - 19.7 inches (40 - 50 cm) high at the shoulder, with a length from 27.5 - 31.5 inches (70 - 80 cm), not including its tail, which is rather long at inches 11.8 - 15.75 inches (30 - 40 cm) and always tipped with white.
Canis adustus adustus, from Wikimedia Commons
It is typically a grey-brown color, with a darkened back, streaked with some white along its back and at the tip of its tail. Its ears are typically rounder and slightly smaller than the Black-Backed or Golden Jackal; its teeth and skull shape are more adapted for an omnivorous diet than a strictly carnivorous one -- "the long, curved canines have a sharp ridge on the posterior surface, and the outer incisors are canine-like."
The Side-Striped Jackal is, like most other Jackal species, less social than its largest cousin, the Gray Wolf. They typically do not form large packs -- family groups consist of an alpha breeding pair and a few individuals from the previous season's litter. They are a territorial species, and their pack structure is rather weak.
Although sized similarly, the Side-Striped Jackal is far less aggressive than its cousin, the Black-Backed Jackal. Side-Striped Jackals tend to prefer densely wooded areas, and studies have revealed "Black-backed Jackals [have] displaced Side-striped Jackals from grassland habitats" where their ranges intersect.3 This species is primarily nocturnal -- they are infrequently seen during the day.
This species tends to be far more omnivorous than others; they will eat fruit, insects, invertebrates, and small mammals. They generally do not hunt prey larger than newborn gazelles; for big meals of meat, they will scavenge larger predator's kills, though in places where their range intersects with Spotted Hyenas, Golden Jackals, or Black-Backed Jackals, there may be fierce competition for this food source. Prior to the extinction of humanity, the Side-Striped Jackal was regarded much kindlier than the Black-Backed Jackal, as this species was not known to prey on livestock nearly as frequently.
Side-Striped Jackals were not changed by the extinction of humanity; the lack of humans didn't have an impact on them in any major way. Subtle influences from Black-Backed Jackals have decreased their range slightly -- where there is open savanna and both species, the Black-Backed Jackal invariably wins the territory conflict. Luperci traits spread quickly throughout the Side-Striped Jackal populations; in areas where the Side-Striped Jackal is the only canine species (generally the central-most parts of their range, as the outskirts to the east, south, and north intersect with Golden and Black-Backed Jackal ranges) they are generally the most sophisticated and humanized of all African canines, as they experience little true competition from even very large predators since acquiring the Luperci virus and the ability to wield a weapon.
Six subspecies of the Side-Striped Jackal are recognized, though there is not enough information to differentiate them:
- Canis adustus adustus (Western Africa)
- Canis adustus bweha (Eastern Africa, Kisumu, Kenya)
- Canis adustus grayi (Morocco and Tunis)
- Canis adustus kaffensis (Kaffa, southwestern Ethiopia)
- Canis adustus lateralis (Kenya, Uasin Gishu Plateau, south of Gabon)
- Canis adustus notatus (Loita Plains, Kenya)