The dhole is most commonly red with a pale underside and white feet. The tip of their tail is black. In some areas dholes have adapted to their habitat becoming a sandy beige or a charcoal grey.
Dholes measure 70cm-110cm. The tail is 40 cm of this length.Males can attain a weight of 15 to 20 kg while females are generally smaller at 10 to 13 kg.
Dholes can attain lifespans of up to 10 years in the wild. In captivity they can make it to 16 years of age.
Dholes are carnivorous. They feed on deer, mice, birds, lizards, frogs, wild pigs and goats, buffalo, gaur, banteng, sheep and reindeer. The dhole’s diet changes across its range. They can eat incredibly fast with some eating 1kg of meat in under 4 minutes.
The dhole is found throughout Asia. Currently they live in China, Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Previously populations existed in Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Korean Peninsula.
They live in dense forests, thick scrub, open grasslands, rainforests, alpine zones and steppe regions. In these alpine areas they survive at altitudes of above 3,000m.
The dhole breeds between November and December. The male will spend 2 weeks courting the female and then 2 weeks mating with her.
In dhole packs only one dominant pair will breed with each other. The rest of the group assists in caring for the mother and pups.
The gestation period for the dhole is 2 months. After this a group of 5 to 12 pups is born. Dholes may have 16 teats to feed the young.
The dhole pups begin to join the hunt at a few months of age. While they are young they are allowed to eat first after a kill. This lasts until 1 years of age when they are fully grown. At 3 years of age they are sexually mature. Females leave the pack at this time an unusual trait for most pack animals.
Dholes are pack animals. They live in groups of 5 to 12 animals. These packs hunt together and work together to protect each other. Sometimes packs merge together for hunting into super packs of 30 animals. This allows them to bring down larger prey. Once the hunt is over they separate again.
Due to their pack nature they are only threatened by large cats such as leopards and tigers. Man has been a big threat for them as well. Introduced dogs and cats have introduced diseases to the area which have affected the dhole.
Each dhole has a call so distinctive that it can be used to identify each animal.
The territory of each dhole pack is about 88 square kilometres (34 square miles).
Dholes are fast runners and incredibly athletic on land jumping large distances. These dogs are also excellent swimmers.
There are 10 subspecies of the dhole.
The dhole is also known as the Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog and the red dog.
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