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Jackal_cFive Golden Jackal pups were born this spring at Germany’s NaturZoo Rheine.  Though not rare in the wild, this species is seldom found in zoos.

Jackal_fPhoto Credit:  NaturZoo Rheine

The Golden Jackal pack at NaturZoo Rheine lives “semi-wild” in an enclosure with Sloth Bears.  The Jackals dig burrows, where they sleep and raise their young.  

Zoo keepers become aware of new pups not by seeing the pups themselves – instead, they see the adult female’s enlarged teats, indicating that she is nursing pups.  The young Jackals remain in the den for several weeks. Then, the first sightings of pups begin to take place.  Until keepers see all of the pups outside at once, it is difficult to tell the size of the litter.  But they now know for sure that they have five pups!

Golden Jackals live in eastern and southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.  They travel in family units and adapt readily to changes in the food supply, feeding on anything from rodents, birds, fruits, and fish, to tubers and nuts.  Jackals figure prominently in European and Middle Eastern folklore, where they often play the role of a sly trickster.

See more photos of the Golden Jackal pups below.