<< Previous Next >>

Black backed jackal

Black backed jackal
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Thomas (FunkyMunky) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 146 W: 0 N: 608] (3154)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-05-17
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon Digital EOS 350D, Sigma 70-300mm
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-11-03 3:46
Viewed: 3790
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Black Backed Jackal

One of my favourite species to photograph. They always seem so alert with beautiful shiny eyes. This was taken in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, my favourite park for wildlife photos!

The black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) are slender creatures, weighing 5 to 10 kg. Their sides, head and legs are a sandy tan to reddish gold in colour. Their back has a saddle from head to tip of tail that is black and white mixed hairs.

Often the edges of the saddle are framed in bright rust. They have a thick under coat for cold weather, which they shed in the spring.

These jackal are the most abundant and widespread of the larger carnivores in sub-Saharan Africa.

They are cunning creatures. Their senses are extremely acute and well-developed, especially their senses of hearing and smell. If startled, a jackal will retreat a certain distance and then circle back in a wide arc in order to interpret the scent of the disturbance.

They spent many thousands of years becoming an efficient sub-predator, adapting to and learning from the top predators around them. They tend to be territorial and will become aggressive only to defend the boundaries of their territories.

Black-backed jackals are active both during the day and night. When active, this species is usually out searching/scavenging for food. Normal movement is at a trot; when hunting an individual walks slowly with its ears pricked and alert.

The surviving success of the black backed jackals is greatly due to their highly adaptable nature. Their relatively small size, mobility, and lack of specialised food and habitat requirements mean that they can adapt to environmental change, which has decidedly affected the way they behave.

Consequently, they have expanded their ranges into agricultural areas and urban habitats in some localities, and also increased or maintained stable population sizes while many carnivores of similar size or greater have succumbed to human pressures such as persecution, encroachment, and habitat loss.

Because of their migrations towards agricultural areas; if you mention black-backed jackals to a sheep farmer in South Africa, he would probably reach for his gun.

This would be the worst thing to do. Jackals are normally seen as being wary of humans and are not considered "aggressive" towards larger animals like sheep. But when one of them kills a sheep, farmers take their vengeance by killing all the jackals in sight. The farmer may kill the alpha-male, and this puts in motion an evil cycle during which both the farmer and jackal become worse off.

The black-jackals, like all other jackals, are territorial and work in pairs. Without the alpha-male the territory is fair game and there are plenty of sub-males around, waiting to exploit the gap. Being less established, they may have had to become inventive in their hunting. Maybe they have learned to kill sheep. They'll take over the range and teach other youngsters their skills.

By dominating breeding cycles, alpha-females can keep whole territories unproductive. But the interlopers will generally chase her away once her mate is killed, and without her younger females will begin to breed. There will soon be more pups around, and lots of dumb sheep to feed them on.

This means a higher survival rate, which means more jackals. Pretty soon the farmer is losing considerable amounts of his flock. To him it seems like a vendetta-each generation is harder to trap, harder to poison, harder to fool and harder to kill.

fransswanepoel, Pitoncle, dmark11, jhm, vanderschelden, rommel has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

This is very nice Peter. Both in the open and both facing you. Sharp image wth good detail.
Well captured and TFS.

nice pair, TFS Ori

Hi Peter,
two very nice jackals looking at us. Good shot taken at the right moment.

Wow that's a good shot Peter! Taken from a great point of view, with clarity awesome dept of field and beautiful natural colors! The curiosity is obvious in the eyes of the Black Backed Jackal's! Bravo, good edition to your library!
George Veltchev

hello Peter
great pose of the two Jackal,s
great sharpness and good details
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-11-03 7:10]

Hello Peter
Wonderful scene and composition with this couple of Black Backed Jackals.
Excellent work!
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-11-03 7:47]

Hello Peter,
Excellent photo taken from a wonderful frontal POV. Very nice to have eye contact with both jackals. Beautiful light, colours and excellent sharpness. Nice DOF.

Bonjour Peter,
Splendides regards avec cette agréable publication valorisant bien les sujets dans une lumière difficile.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hey Peter.
Very nice Jackels. These Jackels and there habits sound a lot like our North American coyotes. Very nice sot of the pair. I wonder if they are a breeding male and female.


  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2010-11-04 0:33]

Hello Peter,

You shows us here on a wonderful way these two Black-backed jackals.
What a sharpness and clarity.
Splendid made, nice presentation too.

Warmest regards,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-11-04 1:29]

Hello thomas,
such a superb view of the duo. The sharpness and the colours are really splendid. It staring stance and looking straight makes this composition so lively. I like the way you allow the grass in the foreground to give an extra effective view.
Excellent composition of a natural view.


Well done, Peter.
It is a great portrait by you of these two Black Backed Jackals. You captured their typical checking out look very well. Both are in the depth of field range.
Once I saw a Black Backed Jackal running in the Namib desert and believe me these guys are fast as well.

Howzit Peter,
An image we dont see too often on TN, good timing with the pair staring at you.Nice sharp image and well placed in their natural envirnment.Inquisitive little fellows.

Calibration Check