Jackals are a member of the canine family and are closely related to other members of this family such as domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes and other species. The term jackal was once used for many members of the wolf family, but today it refers to just three species; black-backed jackal, side-striped jackal and the golden jackal. Coyotes are sometimes called American jackals, but they are not actually a true jackal. Jackals are similar in appearance to other members of the canine family. Let’s find out more about the range and habitat of these species.
Where do jackals live?
The side-striped jackal is found throughout much of central and southern Africa (although it is not found in the very south of the continent). The most common habitat of this species is scrub and woodland areas.
The black-backed jackal is found throughout much of the far south of the African continent and in the east of the continent around the Horn of Africa. These populations do not mix and there are about 900 km between them. The southern population is found in open plains and arid habitats, with areas of scattered brush, and the eastern population (who share their range with the other two species) inhabit the areas between the grasslands and the woodlands.
The golden jackal is found throughout northern Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and southeastern Europe. It has the largest range of any jackal species and this means that they have learned to adapt to live in virtually any habitat. However, this species prefers to live in flat shrublands and floodplains. It does not usually inhabit mountainous areas, but can be found to about 1000 meters above sea level.
Did you know?
Fossil evidence suggests that the black-backed jackal is the oldest member of the canine family!