D is for Dogs – African Wild Dogs
Sadly, both Indian wild dogs and African wild dogs are endangered.
I’m going to blog about the African wild dog – a simply stunning animal. Another name for it is the painted wild dog – and you can see why from this picture (File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported) on Wikipedia, taken at Cincinnati Zoo by © Greg Hume:
Stunning. I had to say it again! African wild dogs have several differences from other canids.
When they reach maturity, the females leave the pack to join new ones. The males stay put.
Puppies are guarded when the pack is out hunting by baby-sitters, which can be male or female. And very unusually, pups old enough to eat meat are allowed to eat before the pack leaders! Food is also shared even among those dogs that have not taken part in the hunt – regurgitated back at the den for those who are sick, injured and old.
They have the strongest bite of any mammal, and kill by disemboweling – grisly but quick, this has led to them being demonised in the past and whole packs killed.
Each dog’s coat is patterned differently, making them easy to identify.
African wild dogs prefer to live in woodland, need a huge territory, and are endangered by human overpopulation, habitat loss and predator control killing. They need too large a space for wildlife parks and sanctuaries to sustain a pack.
Here is a quick poem, inspired by the picture above:
Of course they are not quite as attractive as my dog, Lola. Pictured here. Couldn’t help myself.
She doesn’t have swirls, but she does have curls.
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Poem et al not otherwise protected © Liz Brownlee
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