Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Mammals

European Golden Jackal (Canis aureus moreotica)

Description

The Golden Jackal is a medium sized canine. It is slender and long legged, with a long muzzle, and a relatively short bushy tail. This canine has a coarse golden coat, though this may range from pale creamy yellow to tawny in color. Along the back there can be a mixture of black, brown and white hairs. The head, ears, sides and limbs may have a reddish-brown hue, while the under parts are generally paler in color. Adult size can reach 120 to 125 cm in length, 38 to 50 cm at the shoulder and 10 to 13kg in body weight. There is almost no sexual dimorphism. The only island population of Golden Jackals in the Mediterranean survives today on Samos. Golden jackals have an average of 3 pups with a max of 9. The weaning takes 50 to 90 days and they will reach sexual maturity after about 334 days. In most jackal families, there are one or two adult members called "helpers" these helpers are jackals who stay with the parents for a year after reaching sexual maturity, without breeding, to help take care of the next litter.

Habitat

The European Golden Jackal is a very adaptive species, it can be found in the majority of habitats ranging from desert to grassland, forest or even agricultural and semi-urban areas. In Greece, it is commonly found in wetlands and cultivated areas. They often inhabit areas with close proximity to small settlements.

Diet

The Golden jackal is an opportunistic feeder. The majority of their diet consists of small mammals and rodents with the occasional grounded birds, eggs, reptiles, frogs, fish, insects and fruit.

Protection status

The Golden jackal is currently listed as "least concern" on the IUCN Red List and as "Appendix III'' at the Bern convention but has no entry on CITES. No special conservation needs at this moment.

Interesting facts

Golden jackals are monogamous and will remain with one partner until death. The jackal is mentioned about 14 times in the Bible. It is often used as a depiction of desolation, loneliness, and abandonment, based on its habit of living in the ruins of former cities and other areas abandoned by humans.

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