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African hunting dog in Uganda

Scientific name; Lycaon pictus

The colourfully spotted African Hunting Dog often attack a complete region, destroying far more game than they can ever eat, and can depopulate whole areas of grazing animals The dogs, who hunt in packs, can outrun even gazelles. This is because one dog will chase the quarry until exhausted, then the next dog from the pack takes over.

Where to find the African Hunting Dog

Africa - from the Sahara Desert up into the lower forests of Mt. Kilimanjaro, while formally widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa they’ve been hunted as vermin and are highly susceptible to epidemics spread by domestic dogs thus population is down to an estimated 5000, 25% of which is confined to southern Tanzania.

In Uganda they are extinct but recolonisation though unlikely is not impossible since they are great wanderers.

Habitat: Short-grass plains, semi-desert, bushy savannahs, upland forest and open woodland

How to identify the African Hunting Dog

The African Hunting Dog is the largest canid and the most endangered species after the Ethiopian wolf. Also known as the wild or painted dog it lives in packs of 5-50 animals and is distinguished by its cryptic black brown and cream coat. They live in small cohesive packs typically composed of a dominant breeding pair, a number of non-breeding adults, and their dependent offspring.

For most of the year, they roam around over the plains and in the bush, usually not staying in the same place for more than a day, with movements generally correlating to hunting success. If prey is scarce, the pack may traverse its entire home range in 2-3 days, covering up to 31 miles per day.

What the African Hunting Dog eats

Wild dogs mostly hunt medium-sized antelope, with the preferred species varying according to the most abundant prey species in the area.


Watching hunting dogs on their hunt is not difficult because they do not mind being watched. In the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, where game is plentiful, the dogs hunt only from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m., and from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. They usually spend their day in their caverns or in the shade of trees in small groups. If a single animal has an urge to hunt, it joins a group and engages them in play. The dog will then trot off to the quarry, but if the other dogs do not follow, then the dog who wanted to hunt will return to the group. Individual dogs do not hunt alone.

Hunting dogs attack their quarry only by sight and not by smell. They do not pay attention to the wind direction, and unlike lions or leopards, they do not try to take advantage of cover. The pack trots inconspicuously through an area, staying as close to the quarry as possible

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