SIZE: Shoulder height 38 cm, mass (m) 8 kg, (f) 7 kg. COLOUR: The long bushy tail is mostly blackish and the head, flanks and legs are a reddish-brown. Throat, chest and belly whitish. RUNNING SPEED: 55 km/ hr POTENTIAL LONGEVITY: 10 years GESTATION PERIOD: 2 months MOST LIKE: The Side-Striped Jackal, but has longer ears and sharper muzzle. The side-striped jackal is never reddish and lacks the black saddle. HABITAT: A wide range of habitats, particularly drier areas and open terrain. They have a wide habitat tolerance, and are independant of water, which may only be available seasonally, but they will drink when water is available.


Named for the broad, dark saddle on the upper body, which extends from the neck to the base of the tail, the Black-Backed Jackal is a nocturnal scavenger, although they also kill for themselves and prey on small mammals and birds.

The black-backed jackal is known for its habit of trailing lions and other carnivores when a kill is made: up to 10 jackals will keep a distance until the big predators have had their fill from the carcass. They also dine on newborn buck, springhares, mongooses, mice, rats, lizards and insects.

The black-backed jackal is known as a wary and cunning animal. They are one of the few mammalian species with a long term pair bond. From 5 to 7 young are born, in holes in the ground, which are very often disused aardvark burrows adjusted to suit their needs.