The golden jackal also known as common jackal, is a wolf-like canid that is found throughout most of the territory of Turkmenistan with the exception of the most arid part of the Karakum Desert. The golden jackal prefers to settle in valleys and along the banks of rivers and their tributaries, canals, lakes and sea coasts, but avoids mountainous areas.
The word “jackal” appeared in English in the 16th or 17th century. It comes from the Turkic word “chakal”, which comes from the Persian word “shagal”.
In general appearance, the jackal is very similar to a greatly reduced version of the gray wolf. The body length of an ordinary jackal without a tail reaches 80 cm, and the height at the shoulders does not exceed 50 cm, usually 42-45. It weighs 7-10 kg, rarely more. The jackal is slimmer and lighter than the wolf, its legs are relatively higher, and its muzzle is sharper.
The general color of the jackal is generally gray with a tinge of yellow, red, and fawn. On the back and sides the color turns black, and on the belly and throat it turns light yellow. The hair on the body is not long, hard and thick. The front paws have 5 toes, the hind paws have 4, and the claws are blunt. There are 42 teeth, like all representatives of the genus Canis.
The common jackal is an almost omnivorous animal. It feeds mainly in the dark. Carrion is of great, but not predominant, importance in nutrition. Catches a wide variety of small animals and birds, as well as lizards, snakes, frogs, snails; eats a lot of insects – beetles, grasshoppers, various larvae. Jackals love to wander near water bodies where they find dead fish.
Of the representatives of the canine family, the domestic dog and coyote are closest to the jackal, which have a similar number of chromosomes. In this regard, the problem of crossing between jackals and dogs is relevant. The latter is not rare in the wild, since the jackal is usually not afraid of humans and easily adapts to anthropogenic landscapes.
Jackals often settle near villages and even big cities. They can feed on garbage in landfills, steal poultry and attack young livestock. Scientists have long noted the evolutionary flexibility and high adaptability of the jackal to different conditions. Thanks to these qualities, the jackal as a species is beyond any danger.