The black-backed jackal is a handsome species that occurs throughout southern Africa. The distinctive cry is well known and it communicates with an elaborate vocabulary. Mainly nocturnal, it is found singly or in pairs. Large numbers will congregate at a carcass. It is cunning and swift and will wait in the wings for lions to finish eating, often darting in to snatch a morsel. During the day it rests up under low bushes. The young are born in abandoned antbear holes. Sight, sense of smell and hearing are acute. It is preyed upon by leopard, which have a preference for canine meat; large eagles will also take young pups.