The Black Backed Jackal mammal – the unique Dish-licker of Uganda

The black backed Jackals have  always never really made it to the Uganda safari top list of animals to look out for. A Jungle Book by Kipling  best described the mammal as the ‘dish-lickers’, but still, they don’t always get the attention they deserve on any Africa Safari Tour to see the Big Five.

In most areas, the Jackals are the most abundant of all the carnivores and Uganda safari travelers who will get a chance to see them will notice that the closer one looks at them, the more compelling they will always become.

The black-backed jackal (Canis Mesomelas) species are named after the dark, white-flecked ‘saddle’ on their backs. This species is one of the only three species in the whole of the African continent.

The animal occurs in two different populations: one in East Africa, including some parts of Ethiopia, and usually seen on combined East Africa safari tours,  and another one in Southern region of Africa, ranging from the Cape north to as far as Zimbabwe.

Interesting facts about the Black-backed Jackal:

Black-backed jackals are considered to be among the highly vocal animals. They are basically best known for their high wailing calls. These calls are often started up in the early evening hours, and they spark up by one individual answering another wailing call,  and in no time, an unearthly chorus builds up from the different voices of the jackals.

They also give out a repeated yappy sound when tailing a predator; a call that sometimes betrays an irritated lion or leopard.

Among the dog species, the jackal’s fossils deposits have revealed that the black-backed jackal is one of the oldest known among the  species as seen on a safari to Uganda or even Uganda Gorilla Safaris

Black-backed jackals are among the most common carriers and spreaders of rabies diseases, common in  southern Africa. The species have been connected with epidemics, which appear in four- to eight-year cycles.

Like all jackals, this species forms monogamous, life-long pair bonds. What’s more, youngsters from one year’s litter often act as ‘helpers’, suppressing their own breeding ambitions and remaining with their parents for a year or more in order to help them raise the next babies. This habit is known to have a greater bearing on pup survival rates in black-backed jackals, than in any other jackal species.

The Black-backed jackal features a gestation period of sixty (60) days and the mating normally occurs from late May to August and then giving birth occur from July through to October. A range of 1 – 9 pups are normally produced and are all blind under surveillance of their mother as the father and the old off spring provide food.