Inbreeding avoidance by mate selection is characteristic of the species and has important potential consequences for population persistence. The dominant pair typically monopolises breeding. Once the pups reach the age of 8—10 weeks, the pack abandons the den, and the young follow the adults during hunts. The pups are weaned at the age of 5 weeks, when they are fed regurgitated meat by the other pack members. Hunting and feeding behaviours[ edit ] The African wild dog is a specialised pack hunter of common medium-sized antelopes. It and the cheetah are the only primarily diurnal African large predators.
Researchers assert that wild dogs in Botswana, "use a specific vocalization the sneeze along with a variable quorum response mechanism in the decision-making process [to go hunting at a particular moment]". The youngest pack members are permitted to eat first on kills, a privilege which ends once they become yearlings. The dominant pair typically monopolises breeding. By 7 weeks, the pups begin to take on an adult appearance, with noticeable lengthening in the legs, muzzle, and ears. The typical pack size in Kruger National Park and the Masai Mara is four or five adults, while packs in Moremi and Selous contain eight or nine. She typically drives away pack members approaching the pups until the latter are old enough to eat solid food at 3—4 weeks of age. It and the cheetah are the only primarily diurnal African large predators. If a dominant dog initiates, around three sneezes guarantee departure. Male wild dogs usually perform the task of grabbing dangerous prey, such as warthogs , by the nose. These sneezes are characterized by a short, sharp exhale through the nostrils. Hunting and feeding behaviours[ edit ] The African wild dog is a specialised pack hunter of common medium-sized antelopes. Inbreeding avoidance by mate selection is characteristic of the species and has important potential consequences for population persistence. The pups leave the den around the age of 3 weeks, and are suckled outside. Inbreeding is likely avoided because it leads to the expression of recessive deleterious alleles. Furthermore, males in any given pack tend to outnumber females 3: Springbok kill, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve , South Africa Play fighting after a kill, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa The African wild dog has very strong social bonds, stronger than those of sympatric lions and spotted hyenas ; thus, solitary living and hunting are extremely rare in the species. In the wild, the species' consumption rate is of 1. When less dominant dogs sneeze first, if enough others also sneeze about 10 , then the group will go hunting. Once the pups reach the age of 8—10 weeks, the pack abandons the den, and the young follow the adults during hunts. Small prey is eaten entirely, while large animals are stripped of their meat and organs, with the skin, head, and skeleton left intact. Medium-sized prey is often killed in 2—5 minutes, whereas larger prey such as wildebeest may take half an hour to pull down. However, larger packs have been observed, and temporary aggregations of hundreds of individuals may have gathered in response to the seasonal migration of vast springbok herds in Southern Africa. Furthermore, while elaborate facial expressions are important for wolves in re-establishing bonds after long periods of separation from their family groups, they are not as necessary to African wild dogs, which remain together for much longer periods. Not every rally results in a departure, but departure becomes more likely when more individual dogs "sneeze". The African wild dog produces more pups than any other canid, with litters containing around six to 16 pups, with an average of 10, thus indicating that a single female can produce enough young to form a new pack every year. Males may be led by the oldest male, but these can be supplanted by younger specimens; thus, some packs may contain elderly former male pack leaders.
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