Wild Fact #289 – The Value of Teamwork – Bush Dog
Over the first 700 and some Wild Facts, it seems like we have talked a lot about wild cats such as Lions, Leopards, Lynx and Tigers, however, we may have been neglecting the canine species a little bit. Since I am a dog lover (yes, some cats are cute but they just can’t compete with the companionship of a faithful dog….sorry cat lovers), I thought we would devote today’s Wild Fact to an interesting canine that was once thought to be extinct. The Bush Dog has a large distribution range throughout Central and South America, however, there is only one location where their population density is fairly high. So grab your passport because we are catching the next flight to Suriname.
Don’t Call It a Comeback
As mentioned the Bush Dog is a very rare species and was once thought to be extinct. In fact they were originally discovered through fossil records in the caves of Brazil and since nobody had ever witnessed these animals prior to this, it was believed they had perished off the face of the earth. Well, in a true underdog fashion, the Bush Dog made a comeback (although, they never actually left :)) with sightings in many of the countries throughout Central and South America. While their population is somewhat stable, they are classified as being vulnerable with increased human settlement and deforestation threatening the existence of this canine species. Let’s just hope they don’t actually go extinct this time around.
Smarter Than Your Average Dog
As you can tell from the pictures, the Bush Dog looks exactly like a dog, with a nice, soft, brown coloured coat and a face that you just want to cuddle with. Personally, I would be a little careful when snuggling with a wild Bush Dog….especially since these animals are strictly carnivores. Yes, they have a taste for meat and in order to ensure a successful hunt, they will often form small packs to bring down larger prey such as the Paca, Capybara, Peccaries and Tapirs. These Bush Dogs don’t just rely on brute strength to capture their prey, either. They have shown that intelligence and team work is the best way to ensure a nice meal. For example, when a pack of Bush Dogs are hunting the cute, little, Paca, the group will split into two. The first half will chase the prey on land, while the second half patiently waits in the water….where the Paca usually escapes too. I am willing to bet this puts a huge damper on the Paca’s escape strategy and as a result ends up being a tasty snack for an intelligent, hardworking pack of Bush Dogs.