Hyena and Jackal – African Carnivores.
In contrast to most species of African Cats Hyenas and Jackal are still common in many areas of Africa. The adaptability of these predators contributes to the continued survival of these species where most Cats are in decline.
There are Four species of African Hyena:
- The more common Spotted. Largest of the species
- Aardwolf the rarest species
This is the largest and most common. Widespread through Africa and into India. Dog like in appearance. They are however not related to dogs. Like other carnivores species they live in large groups or clans. Clans can include up to 80 members. These are led by dominant females.
Pack members hunt together. They are persistent and can pursue prey over long distances. They are very vocal animals. Often making a cackling sound. Which of course gives rise to the name laughing Hyena.
They have very powerful Jaws. So are well suited to dissecting prey.
Three species of African Jackal:
- Common or Golden jackal (Canis aureus)
- Black-Backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas)
- Side-striped (Canis adustus)
The Common Jackal is found mainly in the East and North of Africa.
In contrast to Hyenas they are much smaller. They are however related to dogs. They are also a predator. Their prey however tends to be smaller mammals and birds. While they are good hunters they are also effective scavengers.
A major challenge for these predators is the loss of habitat. As a result this increases conflict with people.