Skip to Content

African Wild Dog

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:35 pm

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Egilio » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:27 pm

o-dog wrote: I have heard unoficial reports of females having upto 18 pups, otherwise this pack did well bringing up 11 of 14 pups to 5/6 months of the age!

The largest litter cited in litterature is 22...

I agree with you on the adrenaline kick when following WD on a hunt. I'm also allowed to do that off-road (but limited here because of the vegetation), can compare it to a bungee at Vic Falls (done that too) and WD pups are just the best! Know of at least 3 very pregnant females here at the moment! Here = the Luangwa Valley in Zambia.
We know about 13 packs in the area, but more unconfirmed packs (no pix) are suspected to be around.


Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Richprins » Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:11 pm

Hey, noel!

Egilio and others could give more info here, but the important thing is that just because the female has 18 or 22 pups, it doesn't mean they are all raised successfully! :wink:

Depending on the area, the survival rate would be from 30 to 70%, I reckon, like most predators!

Kruger would seem to have a very low survival rate, lately, looking at Aquilla's figures... :?

I think they have some unique problems due to their nomadic nature: big litters from the alpha pair only leave a greater risk of genetic weakness regarding infections, and obviously the potential of any infection reaching all pups.

Also, despite the dogs using random dens, should one be found by lions etc., that's it...end of that year's "crop"...


Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Richprins » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:08 pm

An interesting bit of Africana from down in the "quizes", regarding pack sizes in Kruger, and early photographic contributions...


This from CUSTOS, the old SANPARKS magazine, 1978!

User avatar
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:25 am

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by sheldogz23 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:06 pm

they prefer living in the southern part anyone know why??

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 6882
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:17 pm

Probably more food there.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

In a world of grey, be RED

Posts: 37
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 5:21 pm
Location: Cumbria/Northumberland border, UK

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by sammylou » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:25 pm

I've only just re-apeared on this forum and the question was asked a while ago so maybe I'm a bit late but as to how the pack raised a litter of 14 pups.

In domestic dogs and in wolves (and in many other species I'm sure) a female can have what it known as a false preganancy, this is where her body goes through all the changes that occur in a pregnant female including producing milk. It's quite common for wolf pups to be suckled by another member of the pack, and domestic dogs can be used as surrogate mothers to orphaned puppies and there have been instances of bitches adopting other animals.

In my book The African Wild Dog, behaviour, ecology and conservation by Scott Creel and Nancy Marusha Creel there is mention of there is mention of a subordinate female lactating and suckling the pups of another female (chapter 9 pg 214).

Many things that human words have upset, are set at rest again by the silence of animals.

Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Location: Okavango

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by o-dog » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:24 pm

Hi Noel

Of only really having a year and halfs experience of following wild wild dogs, albeit an intense bunch of sightings of which I recorded much info, and subsequently got reports since, giving about 3 years of info for the pack that frequents the area around Skukuza northwards I would make the following conclusions as to what limited this pack's size...

Firstly I think the wet/dry cycle plays the biggest role as it obviously determines weakness of game (thereby easiness with which to catch) and then ofcourse thicker bush would allow for ambush by lions, of which 3 deaths due to this was officially recorded for this pack.
In other words in drier years the pack would get bigger as food wouldnt be limiting and predator avoidance would be maximised.

In South Africa, historically packs have been upto even a hundred or the Sabi Sands a pack was about 60 animals in the mid 20th century. It was in the 19th century, that the early hunters recorded the even larger packs. I am sure that food availablility has a major role in determining pack size and would think that the great SPringbok herds as well as larger herds of other species would have been one of the reasons why packs could get so large.
I have no scientific evidence, but from what I have seen with regard to the amount of meat this particular pack that I viewed, consumed, I would say that 'bushbuck' was there main food source (killed about 50 in 2 months over the denning period along the sand river), and that this prey specie (bushbuck) and adopted hunting strategy only allowed for an optimum size of about 12 dogs per pack. Just to repeat, this is not for an official PHD etc it was a small experiment based on many observations and simple statistics.
Ofcourse, territory size will be important and one wonders if although as large as KNP is, if perhaps the dogs home ranges are still negatively being affected.

Egilio seems to have a lot of interesting info and from what I have read of his and the little I know about the Luangwa it is/would be of no surprise if the packs were larger in that part of Africa...availability of food-perhaps more open savanna these days ETC??

I am also sure that the bush encroachment has negatively impacted this species in the last 15 years. It is scary how quickly many partially open areas have been/are getting clogged up with Combretums and Terminalias in the Park...I am sure a big factor leading to lower carrying capacities of this animals.

Anyway further thoughts of mine...

What defines a wild dog hunt??
In my experience of 30 wild dog hunts upwards for a single pack that I got to know well, taking each individual animal singled out and chased vs success of catching them I would say that this species doesnt have as much of a success rate as is claimed. In fact I would put it down less than 50% of the time for this pack. In the average hunt this pack would come across a few herds impala, some kudu, a couple of duikers and a steenbok or two. You could follow them for 2 hours where they would go about chasing these animals madly making many unsuccessful attempts...then suddenly they would hit the thick reeds of the river bed and pull down 2 bushbuck in seconds. So although they had been running madly on one hunt session, the number of attempts was large, and probably almost as 'bad' as that of lions.
Then the next day the pack would bring down 3 impala rams in an hour out of far fewer attempts. I just think that its hard to monitor hunts properly in the thick savanna. :roll:
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Richprins » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:45 pm

Lots of questions here! :shock: 8)

My 2 cents worth:

The points made indicating variability regarding hunting from Luangwa to Sabie-Sands to Kruger South vs North would have to indicate a large degree of adaptability by these animals once they have relatively safe/large areas within which to roam.

They are without any shadow of doubt statistically, historically and physically far more common in the South of Kruger than any other area of the Park, possibly in the world!

Perhaps this is due to the superabundance of impala in that area, leaving little need for competition from other predators.

User avatar
Magic Guarri
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1669
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:49 pm
Location: somewhere in Bavaria

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Magic Guarri » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:55 pm

Hi everybody!
We had our best wilddog sighting in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National park!
That was amazing!
We found the dogs early in the morning, the sun was shining and there was something in the grass - we could not see!
Suddenly the dogs were on the road! 9 of them! WOW!!!
We forgot our breakfast and followed the dogs about 1 hour!
Then we lost them in the bush - but that was an unforgettable morning!
At the moment there is a lot of dog activity in this park and i hope to see them in December 2009!!!





Enjoy the pics!

Last edited by Elsa on Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Pics resized.
To be happy is better than to be a king. People who are happy own a real unique treasure:
A laughing heart

PLEASE NO HOTELS in KNP and PLEASE don´t change KNP into a Funpark!

KNP - Eyes and tracks behind the bush

User avatar
Crested Barbet
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 453
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Crested Barbet » Sun Aug 30, 2009 6:04 pm

Here two of my wilddog photos made in December 2008 in KNP, however I can't remember exactly where it was.

Last edited by Elsa on Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Pic resizing.

User avatar
Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:28 am
Location: Sabie

Re: Poor Doggie

Unread post by jb72 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:16 am

Just two pics of the doggie in question. Not a happy sight.....



And my fav pic. Me thinks this fella had a lovely brekkie.....


darth bangkok
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:00 pm
Location: New York, USA

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by darth bangkok » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:58 am

On 2 September we were lucky to see a small pack of 4 dogs at an impala kill along the H1-2 east of the H12. There was already a group of 4 or 5 cars when we arrived as the dogs were finishing up. They stuck around for a while, then checked out the cars a bit before disappearing into the bush. A great sighting indeed! :clap:





KNP 2009
30/8 - 31/8 - Pretoriuskop
1/9 - Skukuza
2/9 - 3/9 - Letaba
4/9 - Mopani

Posts: 1829
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:51 am

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Sprocky » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:40 pm

A few pics I took earlier today.




Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:35 pm

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Egilio » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:37 pm

@Sprocky: Dogs typically only use a den for 3 months a year when they have small pups. During this time it's not unusual to move the pups from one den to another den several times. This can be after the den being disturbed by hyenas or lions or because the parasite load becomes to high.
After the 3 month denning period they start moving around again, and as the pups grow move bigger distances. And dogs do move BIG distances (see below).
Sometimes the same den site is used in several consecutive years, but often it's not.

So permanent den/more frequently used den sounds rather odd since they only den 3 months a year. Maybe frequently used resting spots is more accurate.

This year we had our first sighting of dogs after the rains at the EXACT same spot as we first saw them after the rains last year. Same dogs, same place. And they've been using that spot quite regularly during the rains and just after it.

@o-dog: Dogs are doing fine this year. Several packs have been seen with pups. And we've received some reports of dogs with pups in some unexpected areas too!
Also recently a pack of dogs showed how large distances they sometimes move. After being seen in an area in South Luangwa in early August they were seen in North Luangwa in September, over a 100km as the crow flies...

User avatar
Guinea Pig
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1682
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:52 pm
Location: My business...

Re: African Wild Dog

Unread post by Guinea Pig » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:20 pm

Looking forward 5 nights at Satara in November. :dance:

Return to “Mammals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Webcam Highlights

Submitted by MegganS at 12:18:01
Submitted by MegganS at 12:03:44
Submitted by MegganS at 12:33:58
Submitted by engelas777 at 10:48:43