Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023


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15 facts about bloodthirsty jackals amid fears they’re set to invade Britain

3 min read

Scavenging jackals are on the way to invade Britain, as we reported yesterday.

The mammals, who can travel nine miles a night to hunt prey and tackle creatures five times their body weight, are reproducing over Europe in spots previously unseen, according to expert Nathan Ranc.

The bloodthirsty animals are heading to the UK, scientists say, could bring a host of problems including howling and harming wildlife during their hunts.

The cunning scavengers love to chow down on turkeys, lambs, chickens, goats, sheep, pheasants, and deer.

While they might look cute and cuddly, they’re anything but as Kim Carr learns while digging into 15 facts about the beasts…

  1. Mammals of the wolf-like sub-tribe canina, jackals come in three species – black-backed, side-striped, and golden.

  2. Living in monogamous pairs in packs among woods, bushland and long grassy plains, jackals are very loyal to their crew and will do anything to protect them.

  3. Looking like a cross between a German Shepherd dog and a fox, jackals have small faces, delicate legs, and fluffy tails with long ears.

  4. In the wild they can live between eight to 12 years but in areas with conservation laws this can increase to up to 16 years.

  5. Female jackals give birth to around four pups, which open their eyes 10 days after being born and are kept safe in underground dens before becoming independent at hunting when they reach six months old.

  6. Using high-pitched howls unique to their own family and reminiscent of a siren, jackals communicate to each other to warn of danger and to indicate it’s time to go hunting. The howling cranks up a notch during mating season and between dawn to dusk. Side-striped jackals hoot like owls.

  7. Pegging it away from predators or when on the hunt for food, jackals can reach up to speeds of 10mph.

  8. They like to feast on small mammals, hares, rodents, small reptiles, birds, antelope and also enjoy eating plants, fruits, and berries. But they are not picky eaters and will even scoff human rubbish if that’s all that’s available.

  9. The originals of golden jackals reach back to eastern Europe and Southeast Asia while the black-backed and side-striped ones first appeared in southern and eastern Africa.

  10. Considered vicious predators, a pack of jackals would be dangerous to humans if they felt threatened as they may be more likely to bite.

  11. Natural habitat destruction is the main cause of jackals moving into human areas, when new roads and infrastructure are built. This makes them a danger to livestock and poultry and increases the risk of transmitting rabies.

  12. Mentioned 14 times in the Bible, jackals are used to illustrate loneliness and desolation as they prefer to live in areas abandoned by humans.

  13. In Bengali tradition jackals are said to represent the Goddess Kali, who appears as the mammal when meat is offered to her.

  14. Meanwhile Indian Panchatantra stories, the oldest collection of fables in Sanskrit literature, depict jackals as wily and wise.

  15. In ancient Egypt, they were gods depicted as jackal heads on human bodies or sometimes entirely as animals. The important god Anubis was a jackal who presided over death and transition into the afterlife, keeping evil out of the country.

Mr Ranc told The Daily Star: "It is one of the largest range expansions for a mammal that we have ever witnessed anywhere in the world.

"It’s a continent-wide trend. This week, for instance, we had the first report that golden jackals are reproducing in Germany. Jackals are turning up in new places."

"We think there’s a correlation,’’ he said. "This is what happens when the population of a dominant carnivore goes into decline. We think the persecution of wolves was a trigger.’’

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