The side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) is a canine native to central and southern Africa. The side-striped jackal is a medium-sized canid, which tends to be slightly larger on average than the black-backed jackal. Body mass ranges from 6.5 to 14 kg, head-and-body length from 69 to 81 cm and tail length from 30 to 41 cm. Shoulder height can range from 35 to 50 cm. Its pelt is coloured buff-grey. The back is darker grey than the underside, and the tail is black with a white tip. Indistinct white stripes are present on the flanks, running from elbow to hip. The boldness of the markings varies between individuals, with those of adults being better defined than those of juveniles.
Unlike the smaller and related black-backed jackal, which dwells in open plains, the side-striped jackal primarily dwells in woodland and scrub areas. The Side-striped Jackal is present over much of sub-Saharan Africa. It occurs from Gambia and Senegal through the Sahelian regions of West Africa to the Horn of Africa, and then southwards into southern Africa and the assessment region. Throughout their range Side-striped Jackals are naturally uncommon.
Side-striped Jackals are found in a range of habitats. These include game areas through farmland to towns within the broad-leaved savannah zones, including wooded habitats, bush, abandoned cultivations, marshes and montane habitats up to 2,700 mSide-striped Jackals are found in a range of habitats. These include game areas through farmland to towns within the broad-leaved savannah zones, including wooded habitats, bush, abandoned cultivations, marshes and montane habitats up to 2,700 m.
Throughout their distributional range they are closely associated with well-watered habitats. Where Side-striped Jackals occur sympatrically with other canid species, they may avoid competition by ecological segregation. In such areas of sympatry, Side-striped Jackals usually occupy areas of denser vegetation, while Black-backed Jackals and African Golden Wolves (previously thought to be Golden Jackals) dominate in the more open areas.
As with other jackal species, Side-striped Jackals are omnivorous and opportunistically change their diet based on local and seasonal food availability. The side-striped jackal tends to be less carnivorous than other jackal species, and is a highly adaptable omnivore whose dietary preferences change in accordance to seasonal and local variation. It tends to forage solitarily. In the wild, it feeds largely on invertebrates during the wet season and small mammals, such as the springhare, in the dry months. It frequently scavenges from campsites and the kills of larger predators. In the wild, fruit is taken exclusively in season, while in ruralised areas, it can account for 30% of their dietary intake. The side-striped jackal tends to be comparatively less predatory when compared to other jackal species.
Like other jackal species, the Side-striped Jackal is sometimes persecuted on private land by landowners in an effort to protect their livestock. However, there is very little evidence for extensive predation on domestic stock or game larger than antelope calves. The species is not listed on the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) appendices, and it has no legal protection outside protected areas. Currently, there are no specific conservation actions that target this species.