5 Interesting Facts About African Wild Dogs

Head of an African Wild Dog

# Fact 1

African wild dogs are known by several names including Cape hunting dog, painted dog, or their scientific name, Lycaon pictus, which means “painted wolf”. 

‘Painted’ refers to the wild dog’s dappled coat of black, brown, yellow and white fur.  Each animal’s markings are unique, like a human fingerprint.

# Fact 2

African wild Dogs are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

They were once several hundred thousand but estimates are now between 3,000 and 6,000 individual dogs in fewer than 700 packs.

African wild dogs were recorded in 39 countries, but they have been eradicated from 25 of them. Today they found in sub-Saharan Africa in countries including Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.  Their habitats range from short-grass plains, semi-desert, bushy savannah to upland forest areas.

One of their greatest threats is habitat loss from a growing human population which in turn puts pressure on all predators, exacerbating the wild dog’s loss of territory.  An increasing human population farms more animals and farmers protect their livestock by killing and driving away predators including African wild dogs.  The wild dogs are drawn to people and some die in road accidents or in traps such as snares. 

In addition, infectious diseases such as canine distemper and rabies are wiping out entire wild dog packs. In 2017, a population of 300 dogs, on Kenya’s Laikipia plateau, were wiped out by canine distemper. Miraculously, a lone female was spotted and she was joined by two males. They are breeding and now have a pack of over 20 dogs which has been named ‘The Phoenix Pack’.

Two African Wild Dogs

# Fact 3

Adult wild dogs grow to between 75 cm and 110 cm in height and the males and females are similar in shape and size. 

They live for approximately 10 years in the wild and are well adapted to their environment and their lifestyle. 

Unlike other dogs they have four toes, instead of five, which increases their stride and hunting speed.  Their large, round, bat-like ears keep the air away which helps them to deal with heat stress and, as a result, they have greater stamina to outrun their prey.

# Fact 4

African wild dogs are social animals which live and hunt in packs of between 3 and 20 individuals. The size depends on environmental factors such as food resources, risk of predators etc.  They eat most animals, from small rodents to larger mammals such as antelope. 

They are territorial and each pack has an average hunting area of 1,500 sq.km.   They are most active in the day when they work as team players and reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour as they hunt.

African Wild Dog Pups, Ol Pejeta Conservancy

# Fact 5

It is usual for only the alpha female in a pack to give birth to pups, with the alpha male of her choosing.  Her litter consists of 4-12 pups and the entire pack contribute towards their care.

When the main pack hunt they will regurgitate food to the pregnant alpha female, any pups too young to hunt and those members of the pack who are ill or weak.

Once the pups mature, the males stay with their pack while the females generally form a new pack with unrelated males.

Wild Dog Revenge: A Page-Turning Cozy Murder Mystery

A Kenya Kanga Mystery, Book 6

A high-stakes match.  An inexplicable death.  As the players take their positions, can an amateur sleuth solve the mystery before the final whistle blows?

Cover of Wild Dog Revenge

Mama Rose just wants to enjoy a local polo tournament and care for any injured horses.  But when a polo player is found dead in a stable, there’s all to play for if our silver-haired investigator is to discover the deadly truth.

Intrigued by tales from a late-night party, Rose unearths multiple suspects all with motives to harm the victim.  But when her enquires lead to dead ends, she begins to doubt her intuition that there’s been foul play.

With the tournament drawing to a close, and the dead man’s influential father demanding answers, the police are on the losing side.

Can Rose unravel the clues before the umpire calls full time?

Wild Dog Revenge is the absorbing sixth novel in the Kenya Kanga cozy mystery series.  If you like ingenious whodunits, diverse characters, and fascinating African settings, then you’ll love Victoria Tait’s page-turning tale.

Buy Wild Dog Revenge to score a victory for justice today!

“Excellent book! Couldn’t put it down until the very end.”  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Goodreads Review

“A very enthusiastic 5 stars for Wild Dog Revenge … The murder mystery is intriguing and very believable.”  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  Goodreads Review

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