Black-backed Jackal.. or the BBJ.

Black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas)

Also known as the silver-backed Jackal, it inhabits two areas of the African continent separated by roughly 900 km. One region is the southern tip of the continent, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The other area is along the eastern coastline, including Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Although the most lightly built of jackals, it is the most aggressive, it’s been observed killing animals many times its own size, and the inter pack relationships are more quarrelsome.

Black-backed jackals are omnivores, which feed on invertebrates, such as beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, termites, millipedes, spiders and scorpions. They will also feed on mammals, such as rodents, hares and young antelopes. They will also feed on carrion, lizards, and snakes.

A pair of black-backed jackals in the Kalahari desert was observed to kill and devour a Kori bustard and, on a separate occasion, a black mamba Black-backed jackals will occasionally feed on fruits and berries. In coastal areas, they will feed on beached marine mammals, seals, fish and mussels.

Sounds made by black-backed jackals include yelling, yelping, woofing, whining, growling and cackling. When calling to one another, they emit an abrupt yelp followed by a succession of shorter yelps. Jackals of the same family will answer each other’s calls, while ignoring those of strangers. When threatened by predators, they yell loudly. Black-backed jackals in southern Africa are known to howl much like golden jackals. They woof when startled, and cackle like foxes when trapped.

A visit to Rietvlei last Saturday rewarded me with an unusual sighting, one that crossed the road in front of me and then lay down… Love the grass wrapped around it’s nose…




These photos are of BBJ’s in the Kalahari Gemsbok Park…..

Kalagadi 245

Kalagadi 290

Kalagadi 266

and the last photo I’ve shared with you before…. my jumping BBJ that was a lucky capture….

Kalagadi 1159

58 thoughts on “Black-backed Jackal.. or the BBJ.

  1. They indeed look like our coyotes. A fascinating creature. I find myself very interested in these photos as you captured them superbly! Loving everything from your lens!

  2. Good photos bulldog, especially the jumping one. They must be one of the most successful scavengers around.

    • Oh I think they are.. their tenacity to even snap at the heels of lion to get their attention is well known.. I think on my other post about the Jackal I had a video of just such an incident… rather funny actually…

  3. Beautiful, but fierce looking animals. We saw a few in Botswana, but it was so dark out we didn’t get any decent photos. Nice to see them here.

    • They are best captured first thing in the morning when they’ve had their drink and are heading home for the day… these were all captured early morning…

  4. Amazing shots! A fascinating and interesting creature.
    Thank you very much for your kind and heartfelt well wishes on my recent posting, Bulldog. I really appreciate it.

  5. Great shots BD especially the first two! You are fortunate that he /she posed for you. Thanks for sharing your part of the world. I always find it interesting!

  6. one of the companies we follow on Facebook just did a little competition on Kruger park – gave some facts and figures first and then a little question – was thinking of you!

    • Col, I’m not sure the negative reputation is warranted… they do after all also aid in cleaning up the veldt after a kill or death of an animal… they are not as vicious as the wild dog when it comes to hunting… I actually love them, they are guaranteed to to call at night when one is lying in a tent… find it most comforting…

      • And unlike vultures and hyaenas, they don’t really have anything repulsive-looking about them. I found that a hyaena snarling at one at close range was not a pretty sight …

  7. Very commanding of respect in his demeanor! Interesting how aggressive they are too — almost can sense this from the presence you have captured in the photos. Great shots dear friend! x RL with love

  8. Absolutely stunning shots as usual bulldog and it’s such a pleasure to visit your blog and seeing these gorgeous animals that you’ve captured so well! I also appreciate all the info about them as there are some people who’ve never seen them. They are such lovely animals and I know because the wife of the vet I worked for had 2 that she rescued and raised. Very naughty but loveable and sweet. I wish she could have seen these shots. She would have loved it! Thanks for sharing my friend. 😀 *big hugs*

    • We had a friend in Rhodesia when we lived there who had one as a pet as well as a hyena… they both just behaved like the pet dogs that they also had… thank you for such a nice comment…

  9. Their colouring matches their environment well.

    As a passing comment I have drunk a high energy drink this morning called “Bulldog Power”.

      • It helped me write a lot of blog posts today which are holding in my draft. I made an error of publishing one about metaphorical wolves just now.

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