Jackal a wolf-like or fox-like mammalian species of the genus Canis of the dog family Canidae, order Carnivora. Jackals resemble wolves and dogs in their dentition, the round eye-pupils, the period of gestation, and to a large extent also in habits. They are opportunistic scavengers and predators, mainly found in dry, open areas in Africa, southern Asia, and southeastern Europe. It can grow to 80 cm in length and has greyish-brown fur, and a bushy tail.
The Golden or the Asiatic Jackal Canis aureus of South Asia, South Europe, and North Africa is 45 cm high and 60 cm long. It is greyish-yellow, darker on the back. They are nocturnal, concealing themselves until dusk in jungles and other lurking places, and then come out to visit farmyards and villages in search of food.
This consists mainly of the smaller mammals and poultry. When unable to obtain living prey, they feed on carrion and refuse of all kinds, and are thus useful in removing putrescent matter. They also follow large predators like tigers in order to finish the carcass after the larger animal has eaten its fill. The cry of the jackal is even more appalling than that of the hyena. It has an offensive odour, due to the secretion of a gland at the base of the tail. C. aureus is the only species found in Bangladesh.
Jackal prefers rodents, insects, and lizards; a scavenger of large carcasses as well. Among fruits Zizyphus is favoured; said to be fond of sugarcane and maize. In Rajshahi, Ishurdi, Rangpur, Sitabganj and Joypurhat areas where sugarcane is grown widely, jackal is considered as a notorious pest of the crop. It lives alone or in pairs, but occasionally forms groups. Gestation period is about 62 days; 3-8 youngs are born. Found in any environment, viz, forests, grasslands, villages, etc. Jackals are widely distributed in Bangladesh. [Md Anwarul Islam]