Black Backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas)

Conservation Status

Least Concern (LC)

Physical Description

Dog like appearance, black/white-flecked ‘saddle’ on back, black tail, and golden brown sides and head.
Weight 6-10kg
Size 96-110cm length, 38cm shoulder height.
Lifespan (wild) 10-12 years
Lifespan (captivity) 14 years


Both nocturnal and diurnal. They are very well known for their weariness and cunning behaviors to avoid predators and traps. They will use burrows dug by other species.

Social and Reproduction

Will be found singly or in breeding pairs; also seen in family groups of adults with sub-adults. Large numbers of jackal can be found around kill sites or carcasses, where numbers upwards of 20 can be observed together. Very vocal calling to each other, especially during the winter months during mating.

Mating System Monogamy
Breeding interval Seasonal breeding, mostly during winter months.
Breeding season May to September
Gestation 60 days
Number of offspring 1-6 pups born during July and October. Pups are dark brown and kept in burrows, fed by both male and female parents as well as previous sub-adult offspring.

Habitat and Food


Wide habitat tolerance, from coastal areas to semi-tropical areas; with preference to drier areas.


Very opportunistic, takes small antelope to rodents, birds, reptiles and insects; including some fruits and barriers. They will readily scavenge carrion if found.


Cheetahs, hyenas, leopards and lions. Large birds of prey when young.

Conservation Challenges

Jackals are still considered vermin and prosecuted frequently. Conflict with humans, principally farming of sheep and goats, are quite high.

Naankuse Solutions

Rearing of orphaned pups and injured animals brought to sanctuary.


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Black Backed Jackal at Naankuse sites