African Wild Dog

Lycaon pictus


  • Domain: Eukarya This domain has organisms with a nucleus and are multicellular or single-celled.
  • Kingdom: Animalia Animals can be small ranging from a few cells to lots of cells like the blue whale and giant squid. Smaller organisms would be fleas and tics. They have no cell wall like plants. Animals have tissues that all do different jobs.
  • Phylum: Chordata All organisms have bilateral symmetry. They all have a digestive system. Their structure is called the notochord. The notochord is a rod that goes through the body when it is full grown. (Like a spine).
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata They all have an endoskeleton made of bone or cartilage. This classification has vertebrate. Fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals all have vertebrate. The vertebral column also means a chain of bony elements.
  • Class: Mammalia Mammals all have hair. Hair can affect their appearance and camouflage them. They also have inner ear bones.
  • Order: Carnivora They have different teeth depending on what type of food they eat. They have special teeth also called the carnassial teeth. The main muscle that powers the jaw is called the temporal. Lots of carnivores have thick coats of fur or hair.
  • Family: Canidae Their legs are usually elongated, or longer than the width. They stand digitigrade, which means they walks on its toes, not on heels. They have five toes on the front of the foot, and four toes on the back feet. They also have claws that stay out all the time, unlike cats whose claws can retract their claws.
  • Genus: Lycaon This genus is the African wild dog.
  • Species: Lycaon pictus.

General Discription

Color: No two of them have the same pattern. Females have the same color as each other. Their coat color is a combination of dark brown, yellow, black and white. Their muzzle is darker and they have a white tip on their tail.

Length: They are usually 2.7 to 4.6 feet long, without counting the tail. Females are usually a little bigger.

Height: They are 24 to 30 inches at the shoulder.

Weight: Their weight is 40.75 pounds usually. The males are a little heavier because they are the ones that hunt.

Location: They are found in Namibia, Botswana, and Mozambique. You may also find them in parts of Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and the Transvaal.

Habitat: They like to live in grasslands, savannas, and woodlands of eastern and southern Africa as well.

Diet: They mostly eat antelope, but they also eat wildebeests, impalas, Thompson's gazelles, hares, gazelle fawns, and zebras. Their zoo diet contains beef, bison, elk bones, and whole and partial carcasses.

Predators: Their only predator is humans. African wild dogs are endangered because humans take them.

Physical Adaptations

They have a strong sense of smell, which makes it easier to find prey. They have sharp teeth to tear food easily, and big round ears to hear better well. Their are black lines from its nose to its ears to protect it from sun. It's bushy tail can help it wipe fly's away and can shield itself. It has four toes on front foot to run faster and it doesn't have dew claws. It's multicolored black, white, yellow, yellow-brown coat acts as camouflage to allow them to blend into their surroundings.

Behavioral Adaptations

Their pups stay with guardians (or adults) while the rest are hunting to keep them save.
Usually, they stay in groups of about six adult males and four adult females, so they can have different skills to hunt with. They are long distance runners. Sometimes, they can chase prey for about 3 miles. Then, they trap their prey when they are in their packs. One usually chases it into another and the other kills it with its teeth. When they are in a new area, they set up a 'base camp' to keep them in shelter and to act as their home. They set out hunt patrols when they are finished to gather prey for their new home. When they are in need of help, they call so the others in the pack know to help. They live in packs of four and can go up to packs of 60 This helps to protect themselves from predators.


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Mulheisen, M.; C. Allen and C. Allen 2002. "Lycaon pictus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 11, 2015 at