Jackals are a canine which are related to dogs, coyotes, foxes, and wolves. There are three species. The larger golden jackals prefer open grassy plains and are closely related to wolves.
The side-stripped jackals live along waterways in dense undergrowth. Black-backed jackals look like a cross between German shepherd dogs and foxes. They are the size of domestic dogs and have a fox’s small face, delicate legs and fluffy tail, and a German Shepherd’s alert ears.
The black-backed jackals are nocturnal, and diurnal, and can be spotted on Kenya’s savannah, or resting under an acacia tree. They are most active during dawn, dusk and night, and are distinguished by a mantle of black hair running along their backs, which contrasts with their rust-coloured bodies.
Jackals mate for life and are very family orientated. Both parents care for a litter of 2 to 4 pups which the female gives birth to in an underground den. The pups are vulnerable in the first fourteen weeks to predators, such as swooping eagles, so the family moves dens every two weeks. At around 6 months old the pups join their parents out hunting.
Jackals dramatically increase their chances of success when they hunt in pairs and groups. They have been observed hunting bigger animals in large groups. Members take turns harassing cornered prey, such as an impala until it is too exhausted to flee. In the ecosystem, they are important for selecting and removing weaker and sick antelopes in environments where there are few, or no, large predators.
Black-backed jackals are well adapted to hunting with curved canine teeth, long legs, and incredible stamina. But they are omnivores, and their diet includes the left-overs of other animals’ kills, ground-birds, reptiles, fruits, insects, berries, and grass.
Jackals are not currently classified as endangered. They have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and their population is stable. But Kenya’s human population is increasing which has led to the construction of more roads, settlements, and an increase in livestock farming, all of which threatening the jackals’ habitats.
Jackals are not averse to eating human trash and rodents, but when they enter human settlements they are viewed as a danger to livestock and are often killed as pests.
In Jackal & Hide, four jackal pups have been rescued when their parents failed to return to the family den. They were brought up at an animal orphanage and when the story begins Mama Rose, the protagonist, is consulted by the head warden about releasing them back into the wild. This has been successfully achieved in real life.
Jackal family ties are strong, and each family has its own call which other family members respond to, even over several miles. Offspring leave home when they are about eleven months’ but some choose to stay, and those that do leave often return to their parents to babysit their younger siblings.
I hope you enjoy Jackal & Hide and the process of releasing the orphan jackals into the wild.
A Kenya Kanga Mystery: Book 4
Publication Date: May 14, 2021
Limited time. A murderer hiding in plain sight. Can she crack the deadly puzzle without breaking her own heart?
‛Mama Rose’ Hardie just wants to make her ailing husband comfortable. So she puts aside her dedication to wildlife and community and whisks him off to a luxury lodge for a breathtaking getaway. But when a guest enters the bush and never returns, Rose is torn between remaining at her partner’s side and her fears for the woman’s plight.
Shocked when the missing person is found strangled to death, Rose struggles to balance her priorities when her husband takes a serious fall and ends up in the hospital. And with her estranged son demanding she stay by her husband’s bedside, the anxious investigator worries the killer may escape into the grassland…
Can Mama Rose solve the murder before time is cut short?
Victoria Tait is the author of the enchanting Kenya Kanga Mystery series. She’s drawn on 8 years of experience living in rural Kenya, with her family, to write vivid and evocative descriptions. Her readers feel the heat, taste the dryness and smell the dust of Africa. Her elderly amateur sleuth, “Mama Rose” Hardie is Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple reincarnated and living in Kenya.
Like all good military wives, Victoria follows the beat of the drum and currently lives in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has two fast-growing teenage boys and enjoys horse riding and mountain biking.
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