Pariah Pack II

Razgriz III

Introduction

Due to the small amount of information, we will be looking at both the Dhole and the Culpeo on a single page. If you wish to view only Culpeo information, please click here - Culpeo Anatomy

Dhole Anatomy

The dhole (Cuon alpinus), also called the Asiatic wild dog or Indian wild dog, is a species of canid native to South and Southeast Asia. The dholes are classed as endangered by the IUCN.

Subspecies of Dhole

There are five recognised subspecies of Dhole:

  • Eastern Dhole
  • Late Pleistocene Dhole
  • Late Middle Pleistocene Dhole
  • Western Dhole
  • Sumatran Dhole
  • Early Middle Pleistocene Dhole

General Information on the Dhole

The most common dhole, the Eastern dhole is the largest subspecies, with a long, narrow face and a skull measuring 189 mm long on average.

Their tails measure 16-17 in long, and are almost half the length of their bodies, nearly touching the ground when in full winter fur. They are smaller than African wild dogs. Weights range from 10 to 25 kg, with males averaging about 4.5 kg heavier. They are 88 to 113 cm long from the snout to the base of the tail, with the tail averaging 45 cm in length. Shoulder height is 42 to 55 cm. They are around the same size as a border collie.

Skeleton and Muscles

Dholes have relatively short, heavy and massive skulls, with shortened facial regions. The frontal bone is inflated, and passes down onto the snout, giving the animals a convex rather than concave profile. The masseter muscles are highly developed compared to other canid species, giving the face an almost hyena-like appearance. The skull is broader than that of domestic dogs and most other canids.

The species uniquely has six rather than seven lower molars. The upper molars are weak, being one-third to one-half the size of those of wolves. The canine teeth are slightly curved and short.

Their limbs are moderately long. Along with African wild dogs, dholes are often referred to as "cat-like" canids, due to their long, fine limbs and backbones. They have great jumping and leaping abilities, being able to jump 3-3.5 m high, and leap 5– to 6-m distances in one leap with a running start. Like African wild dogs, their ears are rounded rather than pointed.

Fur

The general tone of the fur is reddish, with the brightest hues occurring in winter. When in their winter fur, the back is clothed in a saturated rusty-red to reddish colour with brown highlights along the top of the head, neck and shoulders. The throat, chest, flanks, belly and the upper parts of the limbs are less brightly coloured, and are more yellow in tone. The lower parts of the limbs are whitish, with dark brownish bands on the anterior sides of the forelimbs. The muzzle and forehead are greyish-reddish. The tail is very luxuriant and fluffy, and is mainly of a reddish-ocherous colour, with a dark brown tip. The summer coat is shorter, coarser and darker. The dorsal and lateral guard hairs in adults measure 20–30 mm in length.

Behaviour (Social, Reproductive and Hunting)

Social

Dholes are more social than wolves, and have less of a dominance hierarchy, as seasonal scarcity of food is not a serious concern for them as it is with wolves. In this sense, they closely resemble African wild dogs in social structure. Dominant dholes are hard to identify, as they do not engage in dominance displays as wolves do, though other clan members may show submissive behaviour toward them. They live in clans rather than packs, as the latter term refers to a group of animals that always hunt together. In contrast, dhole clans frequently break into small packs of 3-5 animals in order to hunt. Clans typically number 5-12 individuals in India, though clans of 40 have been reported. In Thailand, clans rarely exceed three individuals.

 

 

Reproductive

The mating season occurs between mid-October and January. Unlike wolf packs, dhole clans may contain more than one breeding female. The gestation period lasts 60–63 days, with litter sizes averaging four to six pups. Their growth rate is much faster than that of wolves, being similar in rate to that of coyotes. Pups are suckled at least 58 days. During this time, the pack feeds the mother at the den site. Once weaning begins, the adults of the clan will regurgitate food for the pups until they are old enough to join in hunting. They remain at the den site for 70–80 days. By the age of six months, pups accompany the adults on hunts, and will assist in killing large prey such as sambar by the age of eight months.

Hunting

Prey animals in India include various deer, wild boar, gaur, water buffalo, banteng, cattle, nilgai, goats, Indian hares, Himalayan field rats and langurs. There is one record of a pack bringing down an Indian elephant calf in Assam, despite desperate defense of the mother resulting in numerous losses to the pack. In the Tien Shan and Tarbagatai Mountains, dholes prey on Siberian ibexes, arkhar, roe deer, maral and wild boar. In the Altai and Sayan Mountains, they prey on musk deer and reindeer. Dholes eat fruit and vegetable matter more readily than other canids. In summertime in the Tien Shan Mountains, dholes eat large quantities of mountain rhubarb.

Before embarking on a hunt, clans go through elaborate prehunt social rituals involving nuzzling, body rubbing and mounting. Dholes are primarily diurnal hunters, hunting in the early hours of the morning. They rarely hunt nocturnally, except on moonlit nights, indicating they greatly rely on sight when hunting. Though not as fast as jackals and foxes, they can chase their prey for many hours. During a pursuit, one or more dholes may take over chasing their prey, while the rest of the pack keeps up at a steadier pace behind, taking over once the other group tires. Most chases are short, lasting only 500 m. When chasing fleet-footed prey, they run at a pace of 30 mph. Dholes frequently drive their prey into water bodies, where the targeted animal's movements are hindered.

Once large prey is caught, one dhole will grab the prey's nose, while the rest of the pack pulls the animal down by the flanks and hindquarters. They do not use a killing bite to the throat. They occasionally blind their prey by attacking the eyes. Once prey is secured, dholes will tear off pieces of the carcass and eat in seclusion. Unlike wolf packs, in which the breeding pair monopolises food, dholes give priority to the pups when feeding at a kill, allowing them to eat first. They are generally tolerant of scavengers at their kills.

Senses (and Communication)

Dholes produce whistles resembling the calls of red foxes. How this sound is produced is unknown, though it is thought to help in coordinating the pack when travelling through thick brush. When attacking prey, they emit screaming sounds. Other sounds include whines (food soliciting), growls (warning), screams, chatterings (both of which are alarm calls) and yapping cries. In contrast to wolves, dholes do not howl.

Dholes have a complex body language. Friendly or submissive greetings are accompanied by horizontal lip retraction and the lowering of the tail, as well as licking. Playful dholes will open their mouths with their lips retracted and their tails held in a vertical position whilst assuming a play bow. Aggressive or threatening dholes will pucker their lips forward in a snarl and raise the hairs on their backs, as well as keep their tails horizontal or vertical. When afraid, they pull their lips back horizontally with their tails tucked and their ears flat against the skull.

Culpeo Anatomy

The culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus), sometimes known as the culpeo zorro or Andean fox (wolf), is a South American species of wild dog. It is the second largest native canid on the continent, after the maned wolf. In its appearance it bears many similarities to the widely recognized red fox. It has grey and reddish fur, a white chin, reddish legs, and a stripe on its back that may be barely visible.

General Information on the Culpeo

This is a fairly large canid, intermediate in size between a red fox and a coyote. The mean weight of the much larger male is 11.4 kg , while females average 8.4 kg. Overall, a weight range of 5 to 13.5 kg has been reported. Total length can range from 90 to 165 cm, including a tail of 30 to 51 cm in length.

Skeleton and Muscles

Fur

The pelage has a fairly attractive, grizzled appearance. The neck and shoulders are often tawny to rufous in color with the upper back is dark. The bushy tail has a black tip.

Behaviour (Reproductive and Hunting)

Reproductive

The typical mating period is between August and October. After a gestation period of 55–60 days, the female gives birth to cubs. The females usually give birth to 2-5 pups among the rocks. 

Hunting

The culpeo fox is an opportunistic predator that will take any variety of prey. This fox mainly feeds on rodents, lagomorphs (especially the introduced European rabbit and European hare) and occasionally feed on domestic livestock, and young guanacos. Culpeos are considered beneficial because they are significant predators of the rabbits introduced in 1915; such introduced rabbit populations are believed to have allowed culpeos to spread from the Andean foothills across the Patagonian plain. They sometimes take young lambs a week old and younger. In limited studies, the larger culpeo appears to dominate potential competitors, including South American gray foxes, Geoffrey's cats, Pampas cats, grisons and various raptorial birds. Its range also overlaps that of the much larger puma, but the size difference ensures that the two species have limited competition.

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