Golden jackals (Canis aureus), also called Asiatic or common jackals are small jackals native to northern and central Africa and southern Asia. Golden jackals live 7 to 9 years in the wild, but have been known to live up 16 years in captivity.
Golden jackals have golden reddish-yellow fur with a white mark on the throat. The color can vary with age, region, season, such as in the winter the coat darkens. Body length is about 27.56 to 33.46 in (70-85 cm). Their height is about 15.75 in (40 cm). They can weigh as little as 17.64 lb (8 kg) and much as 22.05 lb (10 kg). Males tend to be larger than the females.
Golden jackals inhabit the Balkan Peninsula. They are found in Thailand and Sri Lanka, Morocco to Egypt and northern Tanzania. Golden jackals prefer dry open country, arid short grasslands with trees.
Cooperative hunting is important to the jackals because pairs are three times more likely to be successful than individuals in hunting. Their diet varies, but includes birds, rodents, fish, young gazelles, insects and fruit. They will often follow lions and other big cats to scavenge their kills.
Golden jackals tend to live in small family groups consisting of a mother, father and some of their offspring. The offspring serve as “helpers”. “Helpers” stay with the parents for a year after reaching sexual maturity, to help take care of the next litter. Golden jackals mate for life. They hunt, defend territory, share food, and provide for the offspring together.
The Golden jackal has a pregnancy period of nine weeks, after which they give birth to six to nine pups. They weigh 7.05 to 8.82 oz (200 to 250 g) at birth. During pregnancy, the male will hunt and bring her food.