Black-backed Jackal

Black-backed Jackal in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (©2009 WMB)

The Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas) is described in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park information guide as:

 . . . an extremely opportunistic feeder, eating anything from termites, wild fruit, such as the tsamma melon and gemsbok cucumbers, small mammals such as mice and hares to the young of larger antelope. The jackal is also a scavenger and will feed on left-overs from another predator’s kill. It is able to locate carrion from 11 kilometers downwind.

Jackals defend a territory in pairs. In the Kgalagadi they have become a problem in the camps as they scavenge for food there too. They have been known to steal meat off the fire when humans turn their backs for even a short while.

Many people do not like jackals much, but I think they are quite interesting, busy animals. They often move around at a fast trot, and seem to be very cautious when approaching a waterhole. The jackal in the above photograph kept looking around nervously.

If you like wildlife photography, check out the rest of the Kalahari Series here.

About lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)
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6 Responses to Black-backed Jackal

  1. Today's World In Pics says:

    Incredible photograph. How many of those jackals do you see around?

    • Thanks! They are fairly common and widespread throughout Southern Africa. Although because they generally are in pairs or a mother with pups, they don’t always stand out in the landscape.

      Thank you for visiting my site and leaving a comment! 🙂

  2. Some people really don’t look kindly on the jackal, they’re considered a menace. I haven’t encountered any myself, of course, but I’ve always thought they have very interesting, almost delicate, faces.

    • Yes, I suppose farmers don’t like them much when the jackals hunt their livestock.

      I actually like watching the jackals. They always seem in a hurry to get somewhere, and they also come across as quite shy animals.

  3. The photo is amazing, as is your new format! Great approach to your theme problem! It really looks fabulous, Lisa!

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