JACKAL, a small active wild dog or wolf of the warmer regions of the Old World, found in southeast Europe, Africa, Syria and southern Asia. The common jackal averages about 2 or 2% feet in length and about 14 inches in height, with a bushy tail about 8 inches long. The eyes are small and the pupil is round. The general color of the body is a dirty yellow or brown, lighter on the throat and belly. Jackals inhabit holes and burrows whence they come forth in the evening to hunt in packs. Their cry consists of a series of pro longed howls, followed by shorter yelps, much like that of the American coyote. The jackal subsists largely upon carrion, often that left after the repast of the fiercer and larger car nivora ; but it also kills prey for itself, a pack hunting down antelopes, deer or other animals, besides getting much small fare, as mice, lizards, insects and the like. They also eat certain kinds of vegetable food, and sometimes they do con siderable damage to sugar and other plantations.
The jackal is susceptible of being tamed, but its odor makes it by no means a desirable domestic animal. It is believed to be exceedingly cun ning, and in many Eastern tales, especially among the people of India, plays exactly the same part as the fox does in those of Europe. It is probable that jackals have contributed frequently to the commingled stock represented in our domestic dogs, some of which betray very jackal-like points. They inter-breed with domestic races.
The common jackal (Canis aureus) is the most widely distributed species; but another species, found mostly in eastern southern Africa, is the blackbacked jackal (C. mese melas). This latter form has the back and end of the tail black, the other parts mostly red or yellowish-red. A third species of jackal found in South Africa is the canduc (C. adustus), marked by a light stripe on the sides. Consult Mivart, 'Dogs, Jackals, Wolves and (London 1890).