Are African Wild Dogs Dangerous?
African wild dogs are a unique breed known for their coats and incredible hunting skills. They are primarily found in sub-Saharan Africa. They are a species of canid and one of the largest African canids. This breed has a reputation for being dangerous. They are vulnerable to being hunted and killed by people. The question remains just how dangerous they are for humans.
You must take legal action if you are the victim of an African wild dog bite or attack. Contact The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer immediately.
Overview of the African Wild Dogs
The African wild dog is known as the most social of African canids. They are often referred to as painted wolves. They are pack dogs living with 15 to 40 individual dogs. They will have one dominant female and a male leading the pack. The leaders of the group are often inherited through bloodlines. As for the rest of the pack, it usually contains females. They will also have young, subordinate males. Other subadults are also part of these packs.
According to National Geographic, African wild dogs have an 80% hunting rate. They are skilled carnivores. Overall, they are pack animals. They enjoy commiserating with other members of the pack and forming close bonds with them. Being part of the canid family, they are closely related to domestic dogs. However, they are also relative to their wild counterparts, foxes, jackals, wolves, and coyotes.
Physical Characteristics and Temperament
Their painted coat stands out among other beads. It has a patchy, multicolored coat. They have bushy tails and big bat-like ears. They have white tail tips. The white tip is used for identification during hunting excursions. They hunt in packs, and they must identify predators and prey. The scientific name for them is Lycaon Pictus. The name means painted wolf. Some key features of the species include:
- 30 inches in height
- 70-day gestation period
- 1m in size
- They have a 12-year lifespan
- Can weigh between 40 and 79 pounds
They have four toes, which is a unique physical characteristic. They are also very fast; they can sprint over 44 mph. Going at such a high rate can make it nearly impossible to track them. They can maintain this speed for 20 minutes. It is the fastest land mammal. Pups have a 50/50 survival rate. If they make it past their first year, they can live up to 12 years. The most common lifespan is ten years.
African wild dogs have two characteristics that stand out: their sight and smell. Their smell helps them find food. It also helps them identify each other. They can even communicate with each other through scent. They can even detect chemicals from miles away. Their smell is so keen because they have a larger nasal cavity than other canids. These dogs have acute hearing abilities. They are excellent swimmers with their webbed feet. However, they cannot see very well underwater.
African wild dogs have many requirements so they can thrive. If they were to be kept as pets, they must be self-sufficient. They must be able to find and kill prey, fend off enemies, and preserve their life. It’s the opposite of what you want in a domesticated dog. They need space between 50 to 1,000 square miles. It is unlikely that your backyard is that large.
Are they dangerous to humans?
As hunting dogs, you might think they are after humans. They are not known to view humans as prey. However, they will attack if they feel threatened. They are not inherently dangerous to humans. They are wary of humans, primarily because they are being hunted. Suppose a person gets too close to the dog while with their pups. The dog may attack. It is best to stay away from any dog nursing their pups.
These dogs are not aggressive towards each other. The pack does not fight. They are very cooperative and work together well. They are friendly when working towards the same goal for the group. They are also very territorial. They will become aggressive if they sense animals or humans threatening their territory. When hunting, they are brutal to prey. They generally target gazelles and other animals of this size.
Their ancestors were domesticated. This was thousands of years ago, so times have
changed. However, they are not naturally aggressive towards humans even now. They can live peacefully with humans. This breed can be unpredictable and territorial. That can lead to some issues with attacks on people. You must speak to The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer if you suffer an injury.
They can be vicious killers
If the African wild dog is forced to be around humans, it can become violent. They must be aggressive to stay alive in the wild. It is in their DNA. This aggressive trait helps them hunt and be brutal on their prey. When they capture prey, they will often disembowel them. While it is a vicious killing method, it is a quicker death than other predators like lions. Essentially, African wild dogs will strip down their prey to the bone. When in packs, the aggression can be controlled. Since they have such aggression, you might wonder if they are dangerous to humans.
Often, they are curious about humans. They may approach softly while they determine the threat level. Remember, they may also view you as a danger due to poachers and hunters. This breed can be unpredictable, so always exercise caution.
Can you legally own an African Wild Dog?
In most countries, owning an African wild dog as a pet is illegal. They are a known threat to public safety. African wild dogs are considered exotic. There are state and countrywide laws that regulate the ownership of similar animals. Some states in the U.S. do not restrict any exotic pets. Why? They allow counties or cities to decide the laws around these exotic creatures.
Some states ban the ownership of African wild dogs. Others ask for permits. So, you might have a potentially dangerous animal as long as you have a license. However, these licenses do not come quickly. They’re usually reserved for animal shelters and zoos. Private persons can obtain these licenses with enough knowledge, experience, and money. Essentially, someone in New Jersey might own these animals. If they cause you injury, you must speak to The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer.
Are these dogs good pets?
These dogs are not known to be good pets. You will not find an African wild dog puppy for sale. Well, that is if you are looking to get one legally. Stores and breeders usually do not have these dogs for sale. One way to get them is through the international pet trade. This can lead to criminal activity.
They must have a natural environment that allows daily long-distance walks. There must also be sufficient food to sustain their pack needs. For the weather, they are accustomed to Sahara desert temperatures. While there are laws for vaccination, there are no vaccines approved for African wild dogs. You can either lie to your vet about the breed. This is challenging, as vets are trained in identifying species. Or owners can sign waivers about vaccinations. The waiver states that it will be impounded if the wild dog bites a human. Usually, this will also lead to euthanasia.
Taming an African Wild Dog
It isn’t easy to tame these dogs. They are wild animals and have wild survival instincts. They do not train the same as other dogs and cats. These animals do not make good pets. They are one of the most dangerous dogs in Africa. They are distantly related to dogs and cannot be domesticated. Their instincts make them dangerous, and they are challenging to tame. Some of their traits include:
- Extreme aggression
They also carry rabies and canine distemper. These diseases can be passed to humans during contact or an attack. The African wild dog is the equivalent of an American wolf. So no, they do not make good pets.
People have tried to tame these beasts but have been unsuccessful. They have a natural distrust of humans. If you are not in their pack, they are apprehensive and may attack. To domesticate an animal, they must have specific characteristics. It can often be amplified through breeding. The most prominent trait they must have is a willingness to be touched by humans. The African wild dog doesn’t display this trait.
Bite Strength in African Wild Dogs
While you might not encounter an African wild dog often, there is still a possibility. These dogs have the strongest bite among canids. Their bite is twice as powerful as that of a German Shepherd. They can exert 142 pounds per square inch. You do not want to be bitten by an African wild dog.
Actions after a bite
In normal circumstances, there are some steps you can take after a dog bite. Germs and diseases can travel quickly. That can lead to infections and death if left untreated. African wild dogs are especially dangerous because they cannot get any vaccinations. Additionally, they are very prey-driven, meaning they are looking to kill. They typically disembowel their prey.
However, these wild dogs are dangerous in packs. They are pack hunters and are not as lethal alone. They are strong, however. So, even if it is alone, you can suffer severe injuries. In general, some steps you can take after a dog bite in New Jersey include:
- Wash the wound with warm, soapy water
- Seek medical attention
- These dogs are not vaccinated, and you must get shots immediately
- Serious injuries require extensive medical attention immediately
- Report the bite to the health department or local animal control
They will likely be put down if an African wild dog bites someone. These animals are exotic pets that require specific care. When they are around people, they must be restrained so they do not attack. Owners will also sign paperwork stating the animal will be euthanized if it bites someone. The owner may suffer criminal consequences if they did not purchase the wild dog through legal methods.
These cases are very complex, and you can suffer life-altering injuries from these attacks. Call The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer to get justice for your attack.
Recognizing Aggression in African Wild Dogs
All wild animals have distinct signs of aggression. A pet might be friendly in most instances, and then suddenly they attack. If you are the victim of a dog attack, you must speak to The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer. Some common reasons that dogs become aggressive include:
- Fear: When any dog is fearful, it will get into protective mode. This leads to aggression and attacks. Since the wild dog is accustomed to fighting for territory from humans or being hunted, they might fear any human.
- Territory: African wild dogs are very territorial. They can attack to defend it when they perceive that someone is coming into their territory. Even domesticated animals can be territorial and bite.
- Pain or discomfort: When a dog is in pain or uncomfortable, it can be more irritable and aggressive. They cannot vocalize their distress except by warning people to stay away. In the wild, the pack leaders would deal with African wild dogs who suffer an injury. That is not the case when they are turned into pets.
- Socialization: Puppies must be socialized from an early age. When they are not, they can become aggressive or scared in certain situations. Puppies need to be exposed to people, animals, and different environments.
- Genetics: The African wild dog has a genetic predisposition for aggression. They are prone to being in the wild and must fight for their food. This leads to natural aggression.
- Frustration: African wild dogs have many needs. If they do not get those needs met, they can become frustrated. This can lead to aggression. They want to roam free as they do in the wild. Without this freedom, it can be difficult to tame them.
- Prior negative experience: abuse and past trauma can cause dog aggression. They might be reacting to a trigger from a previous incident.
- Possessiveness: Everyone wants their space. Generally, African wild dogs run in packs and are used to sharing resources. The leaders take care of the pack, so there is little fighting. The pup might not know what to do when there is no leader. They can become possessive of their food and other resources.
In most dogs, you will see signs of aggression, such as:
- Showing teeth: When you see teeth in any dog, it is time to step back. They are getting ready to attack, and it is unlikely that you will walk away unscathed.
- Growling and snarling: While most dogs can growl or snarl, wild dogs have a more extensive range of sounds they can make. They sound more like their wolf counterparts than domesticated dogs.
- Raised hackles: This is when the hair on a dog’s back stands up. That is a sign they are furious and getting ready to attack.
- Stiff body language: Aggressive dogs tend to get a rigid body posture when ready to attack.
- Direct eye staring: When there is a perceived threat, an African wild dog may begin to give direct eye contact because they are marking their prey. They might start to circle their prey before lunging.
Since African wild dogs are not domesticated animals, they might show signs of aggression in other ways. In either case, you should be wary of these animals. They should not be pets. If they are, there could be some illegal activities happening. You must call The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer for legal options.
How many are left in the world?
For over 20 years, African wild dogs have been part of the endangered species list in Africa. Currently, there are 6,600 African wild dogs globally. The number has decreased by 90% since the 1980s. There are about 650 breeding pairs in the world. When a pack loses several members, it is detrimental to the entire pack. This small number is what has led to their 20-year endangerment period. Their habitat is in danger. Farmers often shoot or poison these animals for encroachment.
Larger packs and populations may have a better chance of survival. Aside from dealing with humans hunting them, they are also in danger of larger predators. They are continuously losing the areas where they once roamed freely. Human agriculture, roads, and settlements continue to decrease the locations for the African wild dogs.
They have a short lifespan, making it essential to conserve and save them from extinction. About 80 percent of pups born annually make it into adulthood. They are often killed by humans and other predators for their meat. Hyenas and lions often prey on the puppies. Hyena waits for the mother to be distracted to take the pup. Lions wait for the pups to run away from the pack to attack them.
Sometimes, the mother kills her pups. The mother deems them to be too weak or sick. They want strong packs; a newborn with defects does not contribute to that ideal. If a beta pair reproduces, their pups may be killed. Other times, they can be adopted by the alpha pair. Litters may contain up to 12 puppies.
Many pups die within weeks of birth from illnesses. Canine distemper is common as other dogs and people bring it onto their territory. It can impact the African wild dog’s neurological makeup, making it difficult to see or smell. These are the two senses these dogs use the most.
Their role in the ecosystem
African wild dogs are critical to the African ecosystem. They help with the population control of other prey animals like zebras and antelopes. This leads to fewer animals competing for resources. Through their hunting, they also eliminate sick and injured animals. It helps reduce disease outbreaks.
While they have the name wild dogs, they are anything but a dog. They are neither dogs nor wolves. They fall somewhere in the middle. They do not fit into our lives as other domesticated dogs do. Therefore, they have no role in our ecosystem. You might be lucky to ever see one of these animals in real life since there are so few in the world.
Legal implications for owning an African Wild Dog
There are many risks with owning an African wild dog. First, getting one into New Jersey is a significant undertaking. The state has many restrictions on exotic pets. When they do get here, there are many restrictions. These animals are often reserved for zoos. They are endangered, so many steps are being taken towards conservation. If the animal is obtained through illegal ways, it can lead to criminal charges, including fines and jail time.
If a dog attacks in New Jersey, there are civil penalties that can apply. Dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets. This is regardless of if it is an exotic or domesticated pet. These irresponsible owners must be held liable for your injuries. In typical dog bite claims, you can provide evidence such as:
- Police report
- Photos or videos of the attack
- Detailed account of the attack
- Witness statements, if available.
During a civil claim, you can recover compensation for any losses. This can include compensation for:
- Lost income
- Lost benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
You must get an individual assessment of your losses when pursuing compensation for a dog bite claim in New Jersey. Since this is a wild animal, the legal process can be more complex. Trust the experience of The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer
While homeowners and renters insurance typically covers dog bites, this can be different for exotic pets. It is unlikely that the insurance company covers the exotic pet. Some insurance companies have breed restrictions for domesticated pets. Your legal options might differ when an African wild dog bites you. Please call David J. Cowhey at 866-343-3181 or reach out to us through our online form.