Golden Jackel

During the past 2 weeks, a few records of Golden Jackel (Canis aureus) have been submitted. We would like to take the opportunity to write about this highly familiar Canidae, and to ask for information about day activity.

The Golden Jackel is one of the most common Canidae sp. in the area (Arnold, Humer, Heltai, Murariu, Spassov & Hacklaender, 2012). It is widely distributed throughout north Africa, Asia minor, Europe (mainly southeastern Europe), southeastern Asia and the Middle East. It is an omnivore species, with plants material consist about 50% of its diet. Its ability to exploit various eatables resources made the Golden Jackel a succeeding species around human settlements, where it can use man-made shelters. In addition, it can dig caverns for shelter, use caverns that were dug by other animals and even use natural crevices in rocks: both food and shelter provided easily in human vicinity (Lanszki, Heltai & Szabo, 2006).

Golden jackal (Canis aureus)
Golden jackal (Canis aureus). Jerusalem hills, ©nadavkna


It is a very social species, usually seen in small groups: often adult pair followed by cubs. It should be noted that observations of big packs are done only around human settlements: The basic social unit of this species is a pair with or without its young. Territory size is related to the amount of available food. Although it is known to be a strictly nocturnal animal, especially in areas inhabited by humans, it is rarely seen also in day time. Day time observations have been recorded in remote areas, and this is why a Jackel seen in day time around settlements is immediately being suspected as an ill animal. However, in recent years it seems that Golden Jackels are changing their habits: occasionally they seen during the day, in and around cities. On 18/10/2014, a single young Golden Jackel reported (David) from Bet-Shemesh city, seen at daytime (12:00) at the city park. Whoever watch Golden Jackel activity during the day, is most welcome to report. Thanks!


Arnold, J., Humer, A., Heltai, M., Murariu, D., Spassov, N., & Hacklaender, K. (2012). Current status and distribution of golden jackals Canis aureus in Europe. Mammal Review, 42(1), 1-11.

Lanszki, J., Heltai, M., & Szabó, L. (2006). Feeding habits and trophic niche overlap between sympatric golden jackal (Canis aureus) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the Pannonian ecoregion (Hungary). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 84(11), 1647-1656.