Killing and feeding behavior:
Identifying damage caused by jackal:
Damage caused by jackal are usually seasonal when young lambs are available for the taking. It will
occur occasionally that jackals take full grown sheep but more often than not they take lambs up to
and including four months old.
Lambs will be chased and caught from the side where the lower canine will usually penetrate the
windpipe or the lower jaw and the upper canine will penetrate between the eye and the ear. Bigger
lambs will be suffocated with bite marks on both sides of the windpipe. (like a cat).
The space between the top canines will be between 22 - 28mm. This will also be more clearly seen if
the lamb is skinned from the top of the neck towards the bottom of the neck to reveal the bite marks
on the inside of the skin. The jackal usually kill only one lamb unless there are more than one jackal.
Jackal will tear open the flank or at the back, next to the anus, and go for the soft parts on the inside
like the heart, liver, kidneys, “net vet” and colon. It does not consume any large bones. It will feed on
the meat under the skin and the skin will be rolled-up as the jackal feeds deeper and deeper under the
skin. In some cases the skin will only be attached to the skeleton at the head and legs.
The jackal is a very neat feeder and does not move the carcass and will seldom come back to feed on
a sheep kill. I have found that it will more often than not come back to a springbuck or steenbok kill.
When the jackal have pups it will carry parts of the kill to the den. I have found parts of a freshly killed
animal at a den site many times.
Identifying damage caused by caracal:
Typically cat, it will stalk its pray or lay in ambush and pounce on its pray going for the throat. The
sharp claws on the front paws are often used to grasp the prey to get a grip on the throat. For this
reason scratch or cut marks from the claws can be seen on the back, belly or flanks of the pray.
The teeth marks will be on either side of the windpipe as the caracal suffocates its pray. As with
leopards, caracals also pluck the hair with its front teeth on bigger animals before feeding. Pray are
also dragged over short distances to cover and when there are grass or litter available it will be
covered or partially covered after it had fed. Caracal are also more likely to come back to a kill
especially if it was covered with grass or debris.
Caracal sometimes kill more than one lamb or sheep. There is no age preference for pray and caracal
will easily kill small lambs as well as ewes. It is also not seasonal as with the jackal.
A caracal use the teeth on the side to cut through the meat and skin and cannot, due to the blunt
skull, go in to eat the inside of an animal. That is the reason why caracal will start on the meaty parts
of the carcass i.e. rump, neck and shoulder. I have found in many instances that the caracal will eat
the skull of the animal like springhare etc. It will also eat the ribs and it looks like the ribs have been
cut with a fine saw. Caracal usually consume between 1-2 kg of meat.
Another characteristic of a caracal kill is when the stomach of the pray animal bulge out the caracal
will stop feeding and the stomach will not be touched.
Examples of classic jackal kills and feeding behavior and the measurements between the K9
teeth 23-26mm
Typical caracal feeding and killing patterns with the K9 teeth
measurements between 24-30mm