The African wild dog is quite different from the more familiar domestic dogs or the gray wolf. It has highly specialised sharp shearing teeth, large round ears and only four toes on its front feet, rather than five. Each wild dog has its own unique markings of yellow, black, brown and white. It weighs from 20 to 40 kilos and stands up to 80cm high at the shoulder.
African wild dogs are almost exclusively carnivorous and hunt various types of antelope and small mammals such as warthogs. On occasion they will feed on ostrich, rhino or elephant. It is not uncommon for the dogs to lose their catch to hyenas and lions. Reproduction || Only the dominant male and female usually breed, with the female bearing litters that average ten pups. All adults help raise the pups, feeding them regurgitated food. Such additional care is vital if pups are to survive: packs rarely manage to raise any pups if they contain fewer than four members. Both sexes leave the pack when one to two years old. Life Cycle || Life expectancy is up to about 11 years.
Social hunters, African wild dogs have an unusual pack system. The pack, usually seven to ten adults, consists of males who are related to each other and females who are related to each other; the males and females, however, are not related. Unlike other canine species, packs of wild dogs frequently contain more male members than female members.
Historically, more than 100 dogs gathered in packs during spring migrations, but today the average pack of African wild dogs contains approximately 10 members.
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