A dog breed
The African wild dogs are social creatures whose efficiency as hunters is legendary. They are slenderly built with powerful jaws; and roam around in packs of up to fifty or even more. They have speed and remarkable endurance; and can pursue … see full wiki
The African wild dogs are easily recognized by their alternating dark brown and tanned yellow color. They are mostly diurnal—with nearly 90% of their hunting efforts ending with a successful kill. This inadvertently makes them the most efficient land hunters on earth.
Wild dogs are social animals. They live in groups ranging from as few as ten members to as many as fifty; and sometimes even more. The males and females look alike; although they have their own separate hierarchical ranks within the group or pack. The scientific/zoological name of the African wild dog is Lycaon pictus. However, it is commonly known as wild dogs (or to some extent, hunting dogs). They are very intelligent creatures—with good sense of selflessness amongst their group members.
The natural habitat of African wild dogs includes the savannah plains, sparse forests, low-lying hills, and semi-desert regions. Their hunting territories vary in both shapes and sizes; and could exceed 700 square miles (i.e. about 1,550 square kilometers). They mostly hunt medium-sized mammals like gazelles, impalas, antelopes, springboks, warthogs, and wildebeests. Sometimes, they take-on larger preys like zebras and young buffalos. And also, birds of all kinds feature occasionally in their menu.
Being social dwellers, they frequently strengthen ties and communal bonds through greeting rituals that involve grooming, licking each others muzzle, whining, and in rare circumstances offer regurgitated food. These ceremonies are more commonly observed after they wake-up in the morning; and just before embarking on a hunt. They spend much of the day resting and avoiding the tropical heat. They also indulge in grooming and playing. Hunting is usually reserved for mornings and evenings: when the temperature is cooler. And before setting-off, they intensify their socialization, and even communicate—using squealing calls and noises. They also interact via snout gestures and various body postures.
Moving in packs of thirty or more, the wild dogs are a force to be reckoned with in the African savannah. Powerful and accomplished top predators like lions and hyenas often do not go out of their ways to disturb them. Except for the pregnant females, each adult dog is slenderly built; weighs anywhere between 60 to 90 pounds (i.e. 25 to 40 kilos), and measures 4 to 5 feet (i.e. 1.3 to 1.6 meters) from snout to tail. They have long slender legs, an average dog’s tail, and short but very powerful muzzle. Their remarkable stamina is the most outstanding hunting attribute, which make them so successful.
The dogs frequently hide behind shrubs and tall grasses, in order to stalk, gain ground, and get closer to their preys. They do this in total silence; and then split in several smaller groups with the aim of surrounding as much prey as possible—usually grazing gazelles, impalas, or antelopes. However, sometimes things do not work according to plans. Those several eyes and ears in the African savannah (especially birds and other grazing herbivores) do not hesitate to alert the entire plain about the lurking danger.
Still, whenever their latent cover is blown, these ferocious killers do not give-up. Banking on their speed and stamina, they chase their selected targets head-on. Although the fleet-footed gazelles and impalas could easily outrun them, the dogs persist in their pursuits. And after a mile or two, their renowned stamina play a vital role. It gives them the upper hand, and they significantly close-in on their prey. Meanwhile, in a helpless act of desperation, a tiring impala (or antelope) may altogether stop: with the hope of warding-off the assailants with its sharp horns. But these dogs are too smart for that. The chasing pack quickly encircles the victim; and gradually close-in from all direction. This act succeeds in panicking the defenseless prey whose desperate effort to lunge and attack one dog opens up the rear and the hindquarters for a counterattack.
It takes only one dog to get a grip, before the entire pack grab their prey on all body parts. They do their best to kill the victim quickly. Then every piece of meat is shared by every dog present. The animals that are waiting in the den (back home) do not miss-out. The hunters would regurgitate food for them upon return. And by cooperating this way, both the young and the old are taken care of. There is no selfish attitude amongst them. Everything is shared. And, even the sick and the injured do not go hungry. Above all, (and quite unlike many other predators), it is rare for a pack of wild dogs to setout for a hunt and then come back empty-handed. Their approximately 90% hunting efficiency is unmatched by any other land predator on earth.
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