Between hunts

Pamushana · February 2019
By Alex Naert
Field Guide

Painted wolves (Lycaon pictus), also known as African wild dogs, rely mainly on their sight to hunt, therefore they need a certain amount of light. They prefer hunting at dusk and at dawn, as midday temperatures are often too high. Very often, as seen here, the pack will find a cool spot not far from water, and spend the heat of the day resting nearby. All that time spent close to water increases encounters with other animals, and in this case there was a stand-off with the two cranky old buffalo bulls not letting the thirsty predator close to the water! Being small predators, painted wolves do not confront big dangerous game.

Their behaviour is highly specialized to living in packs, the main reason for which is to maximize successful hunts. All members of a pack are very social, and often they will be seen playing. These games are very important to maintain strong pack bonds.

I was most fortunate to have spent a couple of years following these beautiful creatures, as I was one of the guides that took the BBC Natural History film crew out in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe, to film the Dynasties series. The result is their Painted Wolf documentary that is currently being broadcast.

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