Dholes are highly social animals that live in packs averaging 5-12, but can number up to 40 depending on the ecosystem and prey availability.

Dholes are highly social, pack-driven animals that like to keep an eye on each other. They rarely separate from one another as they live in close-knit packs averaging 5-12. They interact with other dholes outside of their own group, but the original pack rarely exceeds 25. In the past, researchers have reported packs as big as 40, and there are rumors of packs even reaching 100.

Pack sizes differ depending on the ecosystem and prey availability. In India, dholes form relatively large packs to efficiently hunt large numbers of prey, as well as to protect litters, which are usually large. However, in tropical evergreen forests of Southeast Asia, dholes appear to persist in smaller packs and presumably have smaller litters, probably due the low prey biomass and small size of ungulate prey in these habitats.

Due to the demands imposed by hypercarnivory, sufficient numbers of ungulate prey are the dhole’s major habitat requirements. In India, tropical dry and moist deciduous forest may represent optimal habitats, based on the areas thought to hold the largest dhole populations. Ungulate biomass, particularly that of cervid species, is highest in these habitat types when compared to other habitats in the same region.

Sources: (Anderson, 1955; Carmignani; Chacon, 2000; Cohen, 1978; Davidar, 1975; Hance, 2015; Kamler, et al., 2015; Kawanishi & Sunquist, 2008; Johnsingh, 1982; Venkataraman, 1995)
Image: Kabacchi


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