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Best places to see African wild dog

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Posted by Sue Bowern on January 12, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Where are the best places to see African wild dog?

It’s the burning question for anyone planning a safari.

We all want to catch a glimpse of one of Africa’s rarest of carnivores (Lycaon pictus) African wild dog is a member of the Canidae family. Otherwise known as the painted wolf, painted dog or Cape hunting dog the species are declining in numbers.

Did you know…. there are approximately 6000 (Lycaon pictus) African wild dogs living in the wild? 

The elusive wild dog is Africa’s rarest carnivore, they’ve been hunted and affected by disease but their main predators are the lion and the scavenging spotted hyena. Extremely social animals living in packs where both the males and females have distinct hierarchies within their family groups, that said, when it comes to feeding, the little one always get to eat first!

Best places to see wild dogs

The average wild dog pack consists of 5 to 8 adults with their offspring, possibly totaling as many as 25 members. Wild dogs congregate in Africa’s dry savanna and grasslands, it’s here that they’re hunting techniques are most effective. Working as a pack they spot their prey (mostly springbok and impala) and start a chase which can last as long as 30 minutes, the wild dogs’ stamina outlasts that of their prey as they nip repeatedly at the legs of the animal until eventually it retires exhausted. Wild dogs will ambitiously chase wildebeest, warthog, zebra and cane rats, generally dividing the pack picking on a weak member of the herd to make it almost impossible for the animal to re-join the herd.

We can’t offer guaranteed sightings of these elusive canines but for the best odds we suggest heading off to one of the following (wonderful) destinations …

  • Linyanti and Moremi, Savuti, Lebala and Motswiri in Botswana during June
  • Laikipia, Kenya
  • Mana Pools, Gonarezhou and Hwange, Zimbabwe
  • Luangwa Valley and Kafue, Zambia during the green season
  • Selous, Tanzania in July/August 

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In the meantime, (while you check out our hot spots) here are some fascinating facts about African wild dogs…

  • Africa’s rarest carnivore
  • only has 4 toes on each foot
  • their height and body length is between 35-50 inches
  • shoulder height 27-35 inches
  • gestation period of between 69-73 days
  • litter sizes average of 6-9 but can be between 2-20 pups!
  • preys on impala, kudu, duiker, wildebeest and gazelle depending on location
  • hunts in packs of as many as 20 dogs but an experienced dog is very capable of hunting independently
  • average weight of 55 lbs but varies between weight 35-80 lbs
  • each dog has a unique coat pattern
  • African wild dogs can take down a wildebeest
  • white plume on their tail tip
  • allow their young and sick dogs to eat first
  • packs work well together and rarely display signs of aggression within the pack
  • wild dogs are nomadic making them difficult to spot on safari

Pick up the map and full details of a typical safari to a wild dog destination.

See more images of African Wild dog on our Facebook page.

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