Home > Mammals > Carnivores
Black-Backed Jackal

Black-Backed Jackal
Photographer: Hans Hillewaert

Black-Backed Jackal
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

Black-Backed Jackal Range Map (East & Southern Africa)
Black-Backed Jackal Range Map
(East & Southern Africa)

Latin Name Canis mesomelas
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location East & South Africa
Colour Red/Brown & Black
Length 45 - 90 cm (18 - 35 inches)
Tail 26 - 40 cms (10 - 16 inches)
Weight 6 - 12 Kgs (13 - 26 lbs)
Life Expectancy

8 Yrs (Wild)
Up to 14 Yrs (in Captivity)

Main Characteristics

Black-Backed Jackals have a body length between 45 and 90 cms (18 - 35 inches), a tail length between 26 and 40 cms (10 - 16 inches) and they weigh between 6 and 12 kgs (13 - 26 lbs).

They are red/brown in colour with a saddle of black fur along their back and their tail is long and bushy. They have a slender build, their muzzle is long and pointed and they have large, pointed ears. Black-Backed Jackals that inhabit southern Africa tend to be larger than those found in east Africa.

They communicate by scent marking and using a variety of vocalizations which include howls, yelps, woofs, wines and growls.


Black-Backed Jackals are found in the grasslands, scrublands and open woodlands of east and southern Africa. They live in pairs or small family groups and they occupy and defend a territory of approximately 2.6 sq. kms (1 sq. mile). They are mainly active at night but occasionally venture out during the day.


Black-Backed Jackals are omnivores and they feed on a variety of prey such as gazelle, hares, rodents, birds, lizards, snakes, young ungulates, insects, fruit, berries, domestic livestock and carrion. Those that inhabit southern Africa will also feed on fur seal cubs.


Black-Backed Jackals pair up for life and they mate annually between May and August. After a gestation period of 60 - 65 days, 3 - 6 pups are born in a vacated aardvark burrow. For three weeks after the pups are born the female spends almost all of her time caring for them while the male brings her food.

When the pups reach 10 days old they open their eyes and at 2 weeks old they begin to explore their den. At 1 month old they begin to eat food that has been regurgitated by their parents and by the time they reach 3 months old they are weaned.

The youngsters follow their parents on hunting trips when they are 3 months old and at 6 months they begin to hunt on their own. When they reach 6 - 8 months old they leave to find their own territories and they reach sexual maturity at 11 months old.


Predators of Black-Backed Jackals include leopards and humans.


There are two subspecies of Black-Backed Jackal:

Canis mesomelas schmidti
They inhabit eastern Africa

Canis mesomelas mesomelas
They inhabit southern Africa

Interesting Facts

Black-Backed Jackals are also known as:
Silver-Backed Jackal

Mesomelas means "black middled" in Greek

Similar Animals

Red Wolf
Grey Wolf
Maned Wolf
African Wild Dog
Golden Jackal
Side-Striped Jackal


Contact         About         Glossary         Site Map         Privacy Policy

CC 2006 - 2014 theanimalfiles.com