Hyena dogs (Lycaon pictus)
By nature hyena dog, perhaps, can be compared with a medium-sized sheepdog. This is a relatively small animal - only 1.35-1.5 m, of which 35-40 cm is the tail, and the height at the withers is 70 cm. Such harmony and lightness of the body does not prevent it from being a strong animal, possessing a powerful, compared with the head, body. Unlike ordinary dogs that have five toes on their legs, on the muscular, low legs of the hyena dogs in front of just four fingers.
Similarity with the hyena can only be from afar and with an inattentive glance, but if you manage to approach a hyena dog, you will see an animal quite unlike a hyena. The hyena dog is a big puppy with clever, funny and cunning expression of muzzle, light beautiful movements and extreme mobility: it seems that these are all the loveliest features of domestic dogs. Hyena, however, has very different characteristics and is a piggy bank, rather, for the worst dog features. The hyena dogs have an uncontrollably lively temper and a constant desire to bite, maybe even without the intention of causing harm. But in such a cheerful nature, savagery, predatory tendencies and the desire to inflict injuries soon reveal themselves.
It is believed that it is impossible to find two hyena dogs with the same color. Some have a white background, others have a black background. Someone's spots are lighter, others have darker spots. The spots themselves can differ in shape, size, location on the body. Muzzle and ears are always black, and eyes are red-brown.
Hyenic dogs have superbly developed sensory organs. A good sense of smell is provided by long nasal canals with wide lateral cavities, which contribute to the free flow of air. Large, broad and almost bare ears hear everything that is happening at a great distance from them. And large eyes with a round pupil can see perfectly even in the dark. This already indicates that these animals are far from harmless ...
Hyenic dogs live in Africa. But the area of its distribution in this part of the world is not exactly determined yet. There is evidence that they were met in the east and west of Lake Tanganyika, in the Nubia region, in the Bongo and in the vicinity of Lake Chad. It is believed that the area of their distribution is all southern and eastern Africa. At the end of the 17th century, hyena dogs were met on the shores of the Congo River, but modern travelers can not confirm this, and they are not known to the local natives.
News of it comes to us, however, very rarely. This is strange, because the hyena dog attracts maximum attention to its great mobility, rather bright color, and an unusually noisy voice. In some places, it is met very often, while in the neighboring places it is rare. Perhaps this is explained by the restless way of life of this dog: it follows the wandering animals and gathers in flocks in one place, then in another. There is no permanent habitat for any flock of these animals. If in the occupied territory of food there were few hyena dogs immediately leave. And when they come to another place, where they have a lot of food, they immediately expel many animals that are their competitors.
Live only in flocks, and gather in communities of up to 40 animals. It goes without saying that the larger the flock, the more terrible and arrogant the animals become. In addition, hyena dogs can hunt both day and night: the quality of their hunting does not deteriorate from this.
Hyenic dogs are very formidable predators. And, as already noted, they attack not only their potential victims, but also clear the territory of all large predators, that is, they drive wild animals, although they themselves belong to them. There are times when dogs attack lions and panthers, vanquishing them by their numbers. They continue their activities for several days until they completely clean the area of wild animals; then they go further and there they continue their hunt. Hyenic dogs chase after prey just as much as necessary to tire the animal and throw it to the ground. Rarely, but there are times when a hyena dog goes hunting alone. But also from this, it does not cease to be a terrible predator. It can easily cope with an average antelope.
Sometimes, like ordinary hyenas, hyena dogs follow lions. When larger predators become saturated, they eat up the remains of meat. But, unlike hyenas, they are still more predators than scavengers.
On humans, hyena dogs practically do not attack, although they cause significant harm. There were a lot of cases when hyena dogs ran into villages and even houses, and if they were not expelled, they could attack a herd of sheep and bite in one night up to 100 sheep - this is much more than they need to satisfy hunger. The hyena dogs bite their stomachs, eat their entrails and then escape. They absolutely can not stand domestic cats and dogs - they immediately attack them and kill them. They are, perhaps, more afraid of humans than any other beast. Females raise their young in large burrows, which they tear out in desolate areas. But when a man approaches to these holes, the mother runs away, not protecting her offspring, and after a while returns to her puppies.
It is noted that hyena dogs attack a person only if they themselves are injured. In Africa, there was one incident when in 1986 a hyena dog ran into a house and attacked a family. She bitten a little child to death and bitten three more people. After she was shot and examined the body, it turned out that the animal was wounded in the hind paw. In this case, their aggression can be explained by the instinct of self-preservation. Cases with cannibalism were not recorded. Therefore, do not be afraid of hyena dogs more than other predators: if they are not provoked, they will not touch the person.
Animals brought into captivity breed and bring up to 10 puppies. However, most of them, like people, coming from countries with warm climates, get sick with consumption, which is an incurable disease and takes many lives.