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Wilddog
Wilddog

African wilddog

Order Carnivora, Family Canidae- Lycaon pictus
Wild dog are not water dependent but readily drink where water is available. They are diurnal hunters most active in the morning and late afternoon but will hunt under a bright moon. They very seldom scavenge. They are coursers meaning that they do not make much effort to stalk their prey. They simply walk towards the prey with head held low and ears back and the moment the prey flee, the chase is on. They can maintain a speed of over 60km/hr for more than 2 kilometres and have the best kill to hunt ratio of any of the large mammalian predators in Africa.
When wild dog become alert to danger they will cock their ears and stare in the direction of the disturbance. They growl and may start bobbing or jumping while growling to warn the others. They will always flee from humans and pose no threat to man on foot. Submissive gestures include holding the ears and head down, tucking the tail between the legs and exposing the flanks to the dominant dog.
Wild dog are considered endangered with less than 5000 animals left in the world.
They are home-range animals  but they mark their home-ranges prodigiously and packs crossing into the home-ranges of other dogs tend to avoid confrontation. Very little fighting is recorded. Scent marking is primarily urine spraying and defecation.
They are gregarious and pack size in Botswana is on average 8-10. There is within the pack an alpha male and alpha female and typically it is only these 2 dogs that breed with the other pack members assisting with the rearing of the young. This is known as cooperative breeding
In Botswana wild dogs breed in winter. The alpha male and female will mate around April and will find a suitable hole to refurbish into a den around June. Shortly after finishing the den and after a gestation of 2,5 months the female will give birth to an average of 10 pups. The pups wean at 3 months and  will stay with the pack sometimes for several years. Many of them however will eventually emigrate to other packs and females are far more likely to leave than males.
The pups do not attend hunts until much older. They are fed by dogs coming back from kills with full stomachs and regurgitating portions of food for the pups. Average lifespan in the wild is 12 years.
Common vocalizations are the excited twitter that the dogs make when greeting and the loud HOOO HOOO call that is given when trying to regroup after a hunt. Growls and whining are also used.
L3 Wild dog have a bulbus glandis like all other dogs which means they are joined until mating is completed. They have a short mating time compared to domestic dogs and will mate in the middle of an open plain for maximum safety because they are so vulnerable during this time.
They are unique in being the only dog to not have a dew claw (5th toe) on the front foot.
The first molar has a single elevated ridge that acts like a blade and these carnassial teeth make it possible to cut through meat, skin and small bones very quickly.
The bite force of the wild dog is not as great as that of the hyaena but that is only because a hyaena is double the size. For its size the wild dog has the most powerful jaws of any of the Carnivora.
Social bonding is extremely important and is mostly done through mutual sniffing (particularly of the genitals) and muzzle licking. Adults and pups frequently play. There is elaborate posturing during these ritual greetings to reaffirm social status but displaying dominance and submission.
Wild dog are further unique in allowing the young to feed on a kill before the adults.