African Wild Dog

African wild dogs never scavenge another animal’s prey, no matter how fresh the kill is.

African wild dogs are generalist carnivorous predators and mostly hunt medium-sized antelope that are about twice their weight or larger. Whereas they weigh 20–30 kilograms, their prey average around 50 kilograms, and may be as large as 200 kilograms.

In most areas, the African wild dog’s principal prey are impala (Aepyceros melampus), greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), Thomson’s gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii) and common wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus). Small antelope, such as dik-dik (Madoqua spp.), steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) and duiker (tribe Cephalophini), such as common duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), are important in some areas, and warthogs (Phacochoerus spp.) are also taken in some populations. They will give chase of larger species, such as common eland (Tragelaphus oryx), African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), and zebra (genus Equus), but rarely kill such prey unless they are old, sick, or injured.

African wild dogs also take very small prey such as hares, lizards, and even eggs, but these make a very small contribution to their diet. For the most part, the African wild dog does not eat plants or insects, except for small amounts of grass.

African wild dogs also occasionally kill livestock and important game animals, but will never scavenge, no matter how fresh the kill is.

Image | © Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Estes, 1991; Kingdon, 1997; Mulheisen, Allen, Allen, 2002; Nowak, 1999; Wildlife Africa CC, 2004; Woodroffe & Sillero-Zubiri, 2012)

Learn More About the African Wild Dog


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