Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Jackal, a name, adopted from the Persian, for several species of wild dogs, intermediate between wolves and foxes, from Southern Asia and Africa. They are nocturnal, and hunt in packs, giving voice in fearful howls. They are useful scavengers, clearing away carrion and garbage - a diet which is the cause of their offensive odour; but they commit great depredations among poultry and other domestic animals. Sickly sheep and goats often fall victims to jackals, and a wounded antelope is pretty sure to be tracked down by a pack. Hares are their favourite quarry in Ceylon, but they have been known to hunt and pull down a deer. Their cunning is as proverbial in the East as that of the fox is in the West, and the "fox" of Scripture is probably in many cases the jackal. Dr. Jerdon says that the idea that the jackal is the lion's provider may have arisen from the notion that the yell of the pack gives notice to the lion that prey is afoot, or from jackals having been seen to feed on the remnants of the prey killed by the lion. The Common Jackal (Canis aureus), from Asia and the north of Africa, is dusky-yellow in colour, but subject to a great deal of variation. It is about three feet long (the tail counting for a foot), and the height at the shoulder eighteen inches. The Black-backed Jackal (C. mesomelas), ranging from Nubia to the Cape, and the Senegal Jackal (C. anthus), from Central Africa, are somewhat larger.