The Egyptian Jackal

Labrador Wolf in Quebec

W.F. Hemprich and C.G. Ehrenberg first recognized the Egyptian jackal's similarity to the Canis lupus in 1833. Hence, it was given the name Canis lupaster. As early as 1880, biologist Thomas Huxley stated that the Egyptian jackal looked suspiciously like a gray wolf. It has most recently been classed as a subspecies of the Golden Jackal Canis aureus lupaster in 1926 by Ernst Schwarz.

Fairly recent studies of this Egyptian jackal have shown morphological differences from other subspecies and features that relate it more to the Canis lupus species. However, because data from the studies was very scarce, the conclusion was to retain the Egyptian Jackal as a Canis aureus subspecies. Should it ever be found to be a Canis lupus subspecies, it will be the only gray wolf known to be in Africa.

The Canis aureus lupaster also known as Egyptian wolves can be found only in Northern Egypt, the Ethiopian highlands, and Northeastern Libya. It's possible that they might still be in Saudi Arabia, but hunting has drastically reduced their numbers.

Appearing large for a jackal, the Egyptian wolf measures from 51 to 64 inches in length from tip of it's nose to end of it's tail, stands 16 to 20 inches at shoulder height and weighs anywhere from 22 to 35 pounds. It is rather thin with a coat which is usually tinged gray, beige or a dirty yellow. It is often discribed as lanky and might appear as reasonalbly heavier than it's actual weight. It is larger and longer limbed than other subspecies of the Jackal, though smaller than the Arabian Wolf.

These wolves are by and large nocturnal. Like other dogs, they'll usually bark when excited or growl when irritated. They often bark when excited and growl when annoyed. They usually howl and or yelp calling out to each other just after dark and just before sunrise. They'll give an occasional bark. They are very sociable and usually live in either packs or more often pairs.

The Egyptian jackal is an omnivorous creature, feeding on everything from insects, snails, fish, chickens, young goats, sheep, birds and carrion as well as melons and corn.

Mating occurs in early Spring, with a gestation of about two months. They will usually have about four or five pups. Though, they have on record had as many as eight.

It had been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Then suddenly in January of 2011, it was no longer listed anywhere by the IUCN. There may be no more than forty in the world.

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