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The golden jackal (Canis aureus), also known as the common jackal, Asiatic jackal,[2] thos or gold-wolf[3] is a Canid of the genus Canis indigenous to north and northeastern Africa, southeastern and central Europe (up

Golden Jackal
Golden Jackal


Africa, Europe, Middle east and Asia




rodents, birds and fruit, while 80% of its diet consists of rodents, reptiles and fruit in Kanha.[6] In the Caucasus and Transcaucasia, the golden jackal primarily hunts hares and mouse-like rodents, as well as pheasants, francolins, ducks, coots, moorhens and passerines. Vegetable matter eaten by jackals in these areas includes fruits, such as pears, hawthorn, dogwood and the cones of common medlars. It is implicated in the destruction of grapes, watermelons, muskmelons and nuts

Combat status

Will fight the Dingo

to Austria and Hungary), Asia Minor, the Middle East and southeast Asia. It is classed by the IUCN as Least Concern, due to its widespread range in areas with optimum food and shelter.[1] Despite its name, the golden jackal is not closely related to other jackal species, with morphological and molecular studies indicating a greater affinity to the grey wolf and coyote.[2][4] It is a social species, whose basic social unit consists of a breeding pair, followed by its offspring.[5] The golden jackal is highly adaptable, being able to exploit many different foodstuffs, from fruit and insects to small ungulates.


The golden jackal is very similar to the wolf in general appearance, but is much smaller in size and lighter in weight, and has shorter legs, a more elongated torso and a shorter tail. The end of the tail just reaches the heel or a bit below it. The head is lighter than the wolf's, with a less-prominent forehead, and the muzzle is narrower and more pointed. The iris is light or dark brownish. The species has five pairs of teats.[26]

Its skull is similar to the wolf's, but is smaller and less massive; its nasal region is lower and its facial region shorter. The sagittal and occipital crests are strongly developed, but weaker than the wolf's. Its canine teeth are large and strong, but relatively thinner than the wolf's, and its carnassials are relatively weaker.[27] Eighteen characteristics distinguish the skulls of golden jackals from those of domestic dogs; among them, the jackal has a smaller inflation of the frontal region, a shallower forehead, smaller upward curvature of the zygomatic arches and a longer and thinner lower jaw.[28] Compared to the skull of the side-striped jackal, the golden jackal's profile descends from the frontal to the nasal bones, as opposed to having a flat outline. The rostrum is shorter, less tapering and slender than the side-striped jackal's, and the lower jaw is curved and more powerfully built. Differences in dentition are also apparent, with the golden jackal having larger carnassials.[29] Occasionally, it develops a horny growth on the skull which is associated with magical powers in southeastern Asia. This horn usually measures half an inch in length, and is concealed by fur.[30]

Adults measure 71–85 cm in body length[27] and 44.5–50.0 cm (18-20 inches) in shoulder height.[10] Weights differ 12% between the sexes;[9] males weigh 6.3-13.7 kg (13.9-30.1 lbs), while females weigh 7.0-11.2 kg (15.4-24.7 lbs).[10]


The winter fur is generally either of a dirty reddish-grey colour, strongly highlighted with blackish tones due to the black guard hairs, or a brighter, rusty-reddish colour. The anterior part of the muzzle, the area around the eyes and the forehead are ochreous, rusty-reddish. A blackish stripe is present above each eye. The margins of the lips and lower cheeks are dirty white. The upper part of the forehead and occiput are ochreous. The back of the ears is pale rusty. The inside of the ears is covered with dirty whitish hairs. The chin and throat are whitish, with a dirty tint. The guard hairs are black, and are especially developed on the back, but less so on the flanks; the general colour of these parts is brighter and clearer. The belly is whitish along the midline, while the lower region is mixed with a reddish tint. The limbs are ochreous red, with the internal surfaces being of a lighter colour. The tail is grey with an ochreous tint with a strongly defined, dark shade on the dorsal side and tip. The summer fur is sparser, coarser and shorter, and has the same colour as the winter fur, but is brighter, with less-defined dark tints. Newborn golden jackals have very soft fur, which varies in colour from light-grey to dark-brown. This pelage remains on the cubs for one month, with the adult coat growing in August. The colour of the fur varies geographically,[26] with animals from high elevations having buffier coats than their lowland counterparts.[18] Melanists occasionally occur,[31] and were once considered "by no means rare" in Bengal.[32]

The golden jackal moults twice a year, in spring and autumn. In Transcaucasia and Tajikistan, the spring moult begins in mid- to late February, while in winter it starts in mid-March and ends in mid- to late May. In healthy specimens, the moult lasts 60–65 days. The spring moult begins on the head and limbs, then extends to the flanks, chest, belly and rump, with the tail being last. The autumn moult takes place from mid-September onwards. The shedding of the summer fur and the growth of the winter coat is simultaneous. The development of the autumn coat starts with the rump and tail, spreading to the back, flanks, belly, chest, limbs and head, with full winter fur being attained at the end of November