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African Wild Dogs
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AFRICAN WILD DOGS
Wild dogs require immense amounts of territory and packs range across areas of 400 to 1300 square kilometres.
They are also known as painted dogs, and African hunting dogs.
Wild dogs have highly specialised sharp shearing teeth, large round ears and four toes on its front feet, rather than the five that a domestic dog has.
Each wild dog’s markings are unique.
They weigh from 20 to 40 kilos and stands up to 80 cm high at the shoulder.
Social hunters, African wild dogs have an unusual pack system. The pack, usually seven to ten adults, consists of males who are related to each other and females who are related to each other; the males and females, however, are not related.
African wild dogs are the most endangered carnivores in Africa. They are threatened by humans encroaching into their habitat, by catching diseases from domestic dogs and by being shot by farmers as they search for food on farms.
All adults in the pack help to raise pups, feeding them regurgitated food.
The Latin name for the African wild dog means “painted wolf,” which aptly describes the colourful coat of dark brown, black and yellow patches. No two wild dogs are marked exactly the same, making it easy to identify different individuals.
Wild dogs have bushy tails with white tips that may serve as a flag to keep the pack in contact while hunting.
They have elaborate greeting rituals, accompanied by twittering and whining.
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