Canids, Hyenas & Bears
WILD DOG (Cuon alpinus)
It is an animal of Central, Southern and South-eastern Asia. In Chitwan the wild dogs inhabit forests and cover a large area, but their numbers in the park are very low. Unlike true canids, which have seven molars molars on the lower jaw the wild dogs have only six molar teeth, and 12 to 14 teats in contrast to the 10 possessed by true canids.
As they are not scavengers, these dogs must hunt to survive, and animals as large as sambar deer are fair game. They can run at 45 km per hour, eventually running down their prey: these efficient killers have been known to drive a deer into water before tearing it apart. They hunt in small packs by day and it gives them a distinct advantage, they have been known to challenge redoubtable rivals such as tigers and bears.
SLOTH BEAR (Melursus ursinus)
Among the three species of bear found in Nepal, only the sloth bear occurs in Chitwan. The brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the Himalayan black bear (Selenarctos thibentanus) both live at higher altitudes. The first skin of a sloth bear was wrongly identified in 1791 as that of a sloth - a sluggish, tropical American mammal. But in 1793 the species was classed as a true bear, and it has since been known as the sloth bear. Adult males standing on their hind legs measure just under 2 m and weigh up to 135 kg. They have shaggy black coats with a white V or a crescent on the chest, and pale yellow muzzles.
Essentially forest animals, they are found throughout the subcontinent, including Sri Lanka. They feed on insects, flowers, honey, fruit and even carrion, but their staple diet consists of termites. These they get by opening up termite-mounds with their long powerful claws and sucking out whole colonies with their long muzzles. They also climb trees readily in search of food and occasionally scavenge on tiger kills.
Poor eyesight and hearing, make this animal unpredictable when cornered or surprised and are rated among the most dangerous animal in the park. In spite of its name the sloth bear can move very fast, inflicting dreadful wounds with its claws. Unlike the Himalayan black bear, the sloth bear does not hibernate in winter. ASIATIC JACKAL (Canis aureus):
A close relative of the wolf (Canis lupus), the jackal is only half the size of a wild dog and may stand 40 cm at the shoulder, their color varies from pale yellowish through all shades of gray and brown. Within the park jackals inhabit all the various environments but prefer the grasslands, where they hunt ground-roosting birds and small mammals at night.
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