The Painted Dog
Most people when they come to Africa have their favorite animal that they feel closer to or identify with. Those who know me , know it is the elephant.Rod and President Clinton are crazy over The Painted Dog or sometimes known as Wild Dog. When they get wind of The Painted Dog in the area, it’s batten down the hatches and off you go and if you think I’m pulling your leg, think again. It is an adventure that you don;t expect that you are going to take. They are such an unusual creature, very skinny, no fat whatsoever and can they hunt and run .The Painted Dogs are swift, precise and no fuss type of animal.The Painted Dogs are certainly some of the most misunderstood. They are critically endangered, with an estimated 5,000 left in the wild.Sightings are rare outside of specific areas. They are Africa’s most effective predators, boasting an 80% success rate with hunts which out strips the Lion which has a success rate of 30% roughly.
I have been fortunate to be in the chase with The Painted Dog as it hunts its prey and they move so fast and their communication with each other is amazing and they all know their role, they know what is expected and they all have there role to play in the hunt.Lycaon pictus is there scientific name and means painted wolf.Like many of the animals in Africa, each painted dog has its own unique pattern on its fur. No pattern is ever duplicated on another wild dog. This is one way that you can identify the dogs over time.
The social structure of a The painted Dog is a fascinating, almost altruistic system. Like other pack animals there is a strict hierarchy, with an alpha breeding pair in charge of the group and the rest of the pack members are all subordinates. When a litter of pups is born, they take priority over even the alphas. At first pups are fed by the dogs regurgitating fresh meat after returning from a hunt, but once old enough, they are taken to the kill and given first choice over the spoils. The other dogs patiently wait on the side lines, standing guard until their turn to feed. They almost never fight amongst themselves over food due to this ranking system.
When The Painted Dog becomes ill, injured or elderly restricting or even incapacitating their effectiveness as a hunter, the rest of the pack cares for and feeds them. Recently the alpha female of a pack in Botswana lost one of her forelegs during a hunt. For any other predator, this would be a death sentence. However, she remained the alpha female for a few years afterwards continuing to breed and raise pups while being looked after by the pack.
The Painted Dog is nomadic to a point and can travel up to 50kms in a day and when they are dening , it is then that they will remain in that area.
What The Painted Dogs are doing above and below is greeting each other. What the pictures don’t show are the high pitched screeches that the dogs make when they greet each other. They do this all time when they come back from somewhere or when the Alpha Female makes her presence known when she comes back. As mentioned before they are very social animals and look after each other on so many different levels.
The Painted Dog is playful by nature when they greet each other is a delight to see each time. One never gets tired of seeing it as it is awesome to see how they react to each other and the caring nature they have in looking out for each other.
The key is the communication and that is non stop between The Painted Dogs who constantly let one another know both their location and that of the prey. Their high intelligence and teamwork allows them to adapt to changing scenarios during a hunt.They are simply stunning in the way they hunt together and it is not uncommon for 12-14 days to be in one pack which means the hunted is not going to have a lot of success is surviving the massive onslaught.
The Painted Dog or Wild Dog is a stunning animal and seeing it in early morning light really brings the colours out in this wonderful creature.
This Kudu was lucky to escape the wild dog as it ran to the river to the right of the picture and the wild dog stopped. Crocodiles like in the river and once the Kudu arrived at the other side, it collapsed in the mud as it was exhausted. The animals are always living on the edge in Africa.
The Painted Dog is quick and efficient when it comes to it’s prey. The picture below is The Painted Dog finishing off an Impala. There were 6 Painted Dogs and within 5 seconds the Impala was dead before it hit the ground and within 20 minutes, there wasn’t much of the Impala left. It doesn’t take long before it is fully consumed. The picture below of The Painted Dog eating maybe graphic but that is the circle of life. When you go to Africa, any animal that you see( apart from the plant eaters) are there because they have to kill in order to survive. The Paint Dog is a stunning animal.