Friday Fact – Not your pretty pup to pet: Dhole or Indian Wild Dog!
Our recent visit to Tadoba National park was all about an amusing medley of super predators. While on one hand of the spectrum we witnessed the majesty of the might Royal Bengal Tiger, on the other hand we were privy to the wild histrionics of the pack predators- the Indian Wild Dog or the Dhole. I am particularly mesmerized with these super predators, and rightly so, for a number of reasons.
The innocuous looking canid may make you reminisce about your furry pet dog back home, or those frisky pups may make you want to reach out and cuddle one. But Beware! For this is not only inviting trouble, but trouble in a big way. Coz, those very cute-looking animals may resemble your loving pets in looks, but definitely not in behavior. The Indian Wild Dog or the Dhole is one of the most persistent and pervasive predator. The phrase “Strength in Numbers” is exemplified by the strategy and grit of these wily dogs. It is no surprise that even the mighty tiger is wary of steering close to these swift and tireless beings!
The wild dog is amongst the most efficient predator around, their pack hunting strategies elevate their kill success rate to around 80-90% (according to approximations). Let’s put this in perspective. The success rate of a tiger is around 50% in the best of situations i.e. with plenty of prey around. Now, that is some level of competency to compete with! Strategists to the core, they are excellent communicators, and plan and execute their hunts with strategic positioning around the prey and then the “chase”. All dogs are chase hunters i.e. they pursue their prey till the poor animal tires out and gives up on dear life. And once the animal is within the throes of those jarring jaws, it is indeed a merciless death. For, the pack will bring down the animal and rip it out, allowing it to bleed to death. And they may just enjoy a morsel or so even before the prey dies. Mighty undisciplined table manners, one may say, but that’s how nature has her laws laid out to give each his survival hand.
Mind you, an encounter with a Wild Dog is not for the faint-hearted, but it sure does pack plenty of thrill in your safari escape !