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Animals & Attractions

African Hunting Dog

We are home to a small pack of African hunting dogs.

Breeding programme category:

Our hunting dogs are part of the European Endangered Species breeding programme (EEP).

Location in the Zoo

Our hunting dogs can be found in the bottom left corner of the Zoo.

Find out more

Status

Not Endangered NE
Data Deficient DD
Least Concern LC
Near Threatened NT
Vulnerable VU
Endangered EN
Critically Endangered CR
Extinct in the wild EW
Extinct EX

Endangered

For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredist.org

Size

Relative to 6ft (2m) man Relative to 6ft (2m) man

Population

1409
to6679
Population is decreasing, IUCN May 2012

Habitat

  • Grasslands

    Grasslands

  • Mountain regions

    Mountain regions

Diet

Carnivore Carnivore
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In the Wild

African hunting dogs (Lycaon pictus) are most commonly found throughout Africa. However due to conflicts with human activities, disease and habitat fragmentation their populations are declining.

African hunting dogs live in packs ranging from 2 – 30 members and typically work together to run down their prey. They are very effective hunters; with nearly 80 percent of all chases end in a kill. They usually prefer medium-sized grass-eating animals like antelope, but sometimes they will hunt larger prey like zebras, wildebeests, and even ostriches!

Although they are fearsome predators, they also have a gentler side and form strong pack bonds by eating, playing, and sleeping together. Their social hierarchy is based on submissive behaviour rather than aggressive behaviour and therefore they are rarely aggressive with each other.

In the pack only the alpha pair breeds, and the entire pack helps to raise the pups. All of the females in the pack lactate to nurse the pups and all members of the pack, regurgitate food to feed them. Pups are even given precedence after a successful hunt, with adult dogs protecting the kill and the pups from other predators as the pups eat first.

Domino the African hunting dog pup

Domino was born at Edinburgh Zoo in 2013

Fascinating Facts

  • Each individual African hunting dog has a unique coat pattern

  • They hunt in groups and can bring down wildebeest weighing up to 250kg

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