Wild Wednesday: Learning about African Painted Dogs

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 9:29 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - For this edition of Wild Wednesday, we are here at the Great Plains Zoo, at the African Painted Dog exhibit. I am joined here by Allison Gould education specialist here, tell us all about this really neat dog.

“African Painted Dogs are found in Southern Africa, we have three here, they are three brothers, and their names are Seahorse, Jay Jay, and Monkey Wrench. They are all born in the same litter,” said Allison.

Now, these are unique. No one looks the same, maybe talk about how they look and what people may think about them.

“They get their names Painted Dogs because they have very artistic coats. They can have white, black, and tan patterns. Each painted dog will have unique patterns like our own fingerprints,” said Allison.

You were talking with me earlier about the hierarchy and how they travel in packs. In numbers of 30.

“They can be in groups of up to 30. They have very complex social structures. Where they have an alpha male and female pair. They are the only two in the entire pack that is breeding. But each dog has a unique role that plays in that pack. Some take care of the other pups, others are the hunters, and because of that social structure, and all of the social bonds they have, they have one of the highest success rates when they are hunting. They have even better success rates than say, lions,” said Allison.

Typically what would their hunting be?

“They usually go for anything that has hooves. They’ll eat anything from a warthog to an antelope even up to a wildebeest. Each member is having the role to run down the animal or be the one who pounces and catches it,” said Allison.

Some people may think is it a dog, a coyote, like a hyena? Maybe clear that up?

“They are true canines, so they are a dog. Much more closely related to things like wolves than hyenas,” said Allison.

Awesome. Are there any other fun facts that you can share with us about them?

“My favorite thing about them is that because of that social structure, they have almost a ceremony every single day where each dog will greet each individual dog. So, it would be like going to work in the morning and greeting each one of your co-workers and saying, ‘hi,’ and asking, ‘How are you?.’ So, they greet each other so they build their social bonds, so each dog knows who the other is,” said Allison.

I absolutely love that. Thank you so much for telling us all about these awesome creatures today Allison.