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The African wild dog, also known as the Cape hunting dog, and African painted dog, is a large, intelligent, canine with a complex social life similar to a wolf.
On the hot plains and grasslands of Africa, wild dogs live in tight-knit packs of 20 to 40 animals, the members of which remain so for their entire lives, Often confused with hyenas and having a bit of a reputation,African wild dogs regularly appear on peoples least-liked animals list. The African wild dogs intensely close pack structure is its greatest strength, making the pack a force to be reckoned with. The African wild dog is an incredibly vocal animal emitting squeaks, chirps and hoots reminiscent of many common birds, but they make very few of the sounds created by the more familiar dog species we may have overheard. Wild dogs are known by many different names including painted dog, painted wolf, cape hunting dog, African hunting dog, singing dog and ornate wolf- wow!They are the most efficient hunters of any large predator with an 80% success rate.Wild dogs don't use a kill bite when hunting, the pack will actually begin to eat their prey alive, which may be a big reason for their unpopularity, but is often actually a quicker endingAfrican Wild Dog Facts. The African Wild Dog (also known as the Painted Dog and the Cape Hunting Dog) is a medium sized species of canine found across sub-Saharan Africa. The most distinctive feature of the African Wild Dog is it's beautifully mottled fur which makes this canine very easy to identify. African Wild Dogs are found naturally roaming the deserts, open-plains and arid savanna of sub-Saharan Africa where the range of the African Wild Dog has decreased rapidly.
African Wild Dogs are highly sociable animals that gather in packs of generally between 10 and 30 individuals.
In African Wild Dog packs, there is usually only one breeding pair, which are the dominant male and female members. The African Wild Dog is a carnivorous and opportunistic predator, hunting larger animals on the African plains in their big groups. Due to the relatively large size and dominant nature of the African Wild Dog and their pack, they have few natural predators within their native habitats. The long large intestine of the African Wild Dog means that they have a very efficient system for absorbing as much moisture from their food as possible.
African Wild Dog populations have been declining rapidly across the southern African countries mainly due to loss of much of their natural habitat and the fact that they are commonly hunted by farmers in particular. Today, the African Wild Dog is listed as an Endangered species as African Wild Dog population numbers have been rapidly declining, particularly in recent years. Also known as Cape hunting or painted dogs, these highly intelligent hunters are becoming increasingly endangered. The African hunting dog, also known as a Lycaon pictus, African wild dog, Cape hunting dog, painted dog, painted wolf, painted hunting dog, spotted dog, or ornate wolf; is a species of canid (the same family as domestic dogs) native to the African Continent. The African hunting dog is very group minded, living in packs of anywhere from 6 to 90 dogs.
The wild dog spends most of its time during the day relaxing and grooming itself in the shade, and earns its predatory namesake during the early morning, evening, and on moonlit nights. Although the pack most often hunts together, when the Alpha female has a young litter, it is usually a small group of adult males that will remain back at the den with her, tending to the many pups, while a hunting party of swift and powerful females set out first thing in the morning, and then again in late afternoon to procure the two meals a day the pack enjoys. The African Wild Dog is most easily identified from both domestic and other wild Dogs by their brightly mottled fur, with it's name in Latin aptly meaning painted wolf. The fur of the African Wild Dog is red, black, white, brown and yellow in colour with the random pattern of colours being unique to each individual.

It is thought that the African Wild Dog was once found in nearly 40 different African countries but that number is much lower today, at between 10 and 25. After a gestation period of around 70 days, the female African Wild Dog gives birth to between 2 and 20 pups in a den, which she remains in with her young for the first few weeks, relying on the other pack members to provide her with food. African Wild Dogs primarily prey on large mammals such as Warthogs and numerous species of Antelope, supplementing their diet with Rodents, Lizards, Birds and Insects. Lions and Hyenas have been known on occasion, to prey on African Wild Dog individuals that have been separated from the rest of the group.
The slightly savage nature of the African Wild Dog has led to a great deal of superstition regarding it, with locals having almost wiped out entire populations in certain areas. ColourationThe scientific name, Lycaon pictus, is an amalgamation of the Greek for wolf and the Latin for painted, reflecting the animal’s characteristics and irregular patterning in shades of red, brown, black and white.
The dogs show a very high degree of social cooperation and communicate through gestures, postures, and calls.
They are successful  80% of the time in bringing down antelope, pig, and massive prey such as zebra and wildebeast that may easily be 10 times the size of an individual dog. While hunting and feeding, the pack chirps and squeals like a flock of small birds, or a noisy pod of dolphins!
The African Wild Dog is said to be the most sociable of all the canines, living in packs of around 30 individuals. It is also thought to act as a type of camouflage, helping the African Wild Dog to blend into it's surroundings.
Now most African Wild Dog populations are primarily restricted to National Parks across southern Africa, with the highest populations found in Botswana and Zimbabwe.
They are the world's most sociable Dogs and do everything as a group, from hunting for and sharing food, to helping sick members and assisting in raising young. The African Wild Dog cubs leave the den at between 2 and 3 months old and are fed and cared for by the entire pack until they are old enough to become independent and generally leave to join or start another African Wild Dog pack.
One of the biggest threats to the African Wild Dog are farmers that hunt and kill the African Wild Dog in fear that they are preying on their livestock. African Wild Dogs are therefore able to go for long periods of time without needing to drink. Hunting, habitat loss and the fact that they are particularly vulnerable to the spread of disease by livestock, are the main causes for the continent's African Wild Dog loss. Each wild dog has its own unique markings and the multi-colours help it to blend into its dappled scrubland background. It commonly weighs between 40 and 75 lbs (18 and 34 kg), with a body length of about 39 inches (100 cm), and a height of 30 inches (75 cm) from ground to shoulder. The African Wild Dog also has large ears, a long muzzle and long legs, with four toes on each foot. African Wild Dogs require large territories to support the pack, with pack sizes having in fact dropped in number with their decreasing home-ranges. Although the African Wild Dog's prey is often much faster, the chase can last for miles, and it is this Dog's stamina and perseverance that makes them so successful, along with their ability to maintain their speed.

A drastic decline in their natural habitats has also pushed the remaining African Wild Dog populations into small pockets of their native regions, and they are now most commonly found within National Parks.
Unlike many other carnivores, African Wild Dogs kill their prey by starting to bite it when it is still alive. Although the majority of the African Wild Dog population is today confined to National Parks, they tend to require much larger territories and come into conflict with Humans when they leave these protected areas. The white tips on their bushy tail helps pack members keep in touch in long grass.EarsThe disproportionately big, erect ears act as sound collectors, helping a wild dog to keep in touch with the calls of its pack over vast distances.
There are no preserves large enough to comfortably contain a pack of African wild dogs, and when they stray out onto farmlands and roadways, they fall prey to car bumpers and farmers bullets.The African wild dog is the second largest canine in the world, with the northern grey wolf being much heavier, but not neccessarily taller.
Although they make a tremendous amount of noise and may scream and squabble,  African wild dogs are rarely aggressive with each other. In the world of wild dogs it is the submissive animal who can most fervently beg that tends to eat first. This is one of the biggest differences between the African Wild Dog and other canine species as they have five. These dogs make lots of eerie noises and their habits of grinning and bowing to one another to show submission and friendship is perceived as skulking, and kind of creepy to many observers.
In fact, it is often a race to submission rather than dominance, with each dog giving the other a wide-lipped grin, bowing their heads low and "ha- ha" or "huffing" in reverance.The wild dog pack is extremely tight-knit and works as a big, well-oiled machine because of this harmony. Food is distributed to the youngest pack members and sometimes the Alpha pair are actually be the last dogs to eat.
African Wild Dogs lead a crepuscular lifestyle meaning that they are most active during dawn and dusk. The most unfortunate habit wild dogs have is their hunting style, or rather their killing style.
They build up each others confidence with group "rallies" where they trot about shoulder to shoulder, tails held high, jostling and mouthing each other, definitely similar to wolves, but also to football players before the big game. Wild dogs don't generally kill these big adversaries, although there are accounts of them doing so. Because the entire pack contributes to the raising of one large litter of puppies a year, African wild dog puppies catch on quick, and may be seen out hunting with the pack by the time they are 6 months old. Their long legs help the dogs to run at speeds of up to 35mph when the pack is in pursuit of a gazelle or wildebeest. However, because each pack requires an extensive home range for hunting, of 500 to 1,000 square miles (the area of Greater London) human encroachment on their habitat has had a big effect on populations.
Packs of fewer than half a dozen wild dogs are not viable because they cannot hunt effectively.

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