The answer to today’s Tanda Tula #trackitthursday is… the wild dog!
It was a tricky one as the track is not very clear, but you can see the four toes and triangular main pad. This shot was captured shortly after the pack had an encounter with a clan of hyena over a kill.
The African wild dog, also known as the African painted dog, has been on the endangered list for some time. However, thanks for various conservation projects things are looking up. Wild dogs are great roamers and are distinguished by their long legs, massive jaws and very large, bat-like ears.
Their coat is colourful with dark brown, black and yellow patches, with no two dogs having the exact same markings. They also have big bushy tails, with white tips, which are sometimes used as a ‘flag’ to help the pack stay with each other while hunting.
African wild dogs hunt in impressive packs of 6-20 and work together incredibly effectively. They are extremely intelligent animals with a very organised hunting process. When the prey is targeted, some of the dogs will chase the prey and run close to it, while others follow behind and take over when the leaders are tired. Eventually tiring the prey, the dogs pounce and attack.
They can cover distances of several kilometres while chasing the prey. Other than big prey, they can often be found feasting on warthogs, rats and birds.
Truly remarkable animals.