The black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) is an African canine with a fox-like appearance. It has tan fur, and a thick stripe of black and silver running down its back. They weigh anywhere from 15 to 30 pounds and are 5.91 to 11.81 in (15 to 30 cm) at the shoulder. Males are usually larger than females.
Black-backed Jackals usually live together in pairs that last for life, but often hunt in packs to catch larger prey such as impala and antelope. They are very territorial. Each pair dominates a permanent territory. They are mainly nocturnal, but black-backed jackals come out in the day occasionally. Their predators include leopards, wolves, and humans. Jackals sometimes killed for their furs, or because they are considered predators of livestock.
These jackals adapt their diets to the available food sources in their habitat. They often scavenge, but they are also successful hunters. Their omnivorous diet includes, among other things: impala, antelopes, fur seal cubs, gazelle, guinea fowl, insects, rodents, hares, lizards, snakes, fruits and berries, domestic animals such as sheep and goats, and carrion.
Black-backed jackals have a 2-month pregnancy period. Each litter consists of 3 to 6 pups, each of which weigh 7.05 to 8.82 oz (200 to 250 g). At 8 months pups are old enough to leave their parents and establish territories of their own.
Black-backed jackals occur in a wide variety of African habitats, such as open woodlands, scrubland, savanna, and bush. They can easily adapt to different habitats. They are quite common throughout their range, and have a low risk of endangerment.