Wild dogs, also called African wild dogs or painted dogs, are medium-sized species of canines found across sub-Saharan Africa. African wild dogs are extremely social creatures that typically congregate in packs of between 10 and 30. Within the pack, there is a rigid hierarchy led by the top breeding couple. They are the most sociable dogs in the world and do everything as a pack, including attending to the ill, helping to raise pups, and foraging and sharing food. A video has gone viral, showing a pack of wild dogs chasing and trying to capture a waterbuck that is a lot bigger than them.
The video shows a pack of almost 20 wild dogs running into a wooded area, chasing their target – a single waterbuck. At first, there is no sign of their prey, and these dogs start sniffing around, trying to pick up its scent. From the video, it is easy to tell that they found the scent of potential prey because they start moving down the road in the direction of a herd of waterbuck. These dogs single out a female waterbuck, knowing that they cannot chase more than one at a time. Wild dogs weigh between 44 to 55 pounds, while female waterbucks weigh 355 to 472 pounds. It is easier for a pack of wild dogs to chase a female waterbuck than a male that weighs between 437 to 578 pounds.
The waterbuck tries to run to a nearby dam for safety, as they usually do when in danger because they are excellent swimmers, but the dam’s dried up. It would have been easier for her to escape the pack of wild dogs if the dam wasn’t dried up but she is forced to run around instead. The waterbuck eventually finds a bush where she decides to hide half of her body, with only her neck sticking out. The dogs try to get into the bush from all corners to draw her out, but she stands her ground. The video shows part of the pack losing interest as the waterbuck refuses to come out of hiding. Because these dogs are used to chasing running prey, they do not know what to do about this waterbuck that has decided to put up a fight.
How Aggressive Are Wild Dogs?
Generally, wild dogs are not as aggressive as one might think. Because of their social hierarchy, these dogs have an innate nature to do things according to unspoken protocol. Their lack of aggression is also evident in the way they hunt. Unlike many other wild animals that would strike their prey at the slightest chance they get, the video shows that these dogs would rather wait for their prey to resume running before they try to attack it. The video shows many of the dogs sitting around, waiting for the waterbuck to continue running.
As the video progresses, it is evident that many of the dogs have given up interest in their potential meal because they begin to leave the area. On their way back to wherever it is they came from, these dogs are able to single out another waterbuck from the herd and start a new chase. This waterbuck also does the same as the first one and tries to find a bush to hide in. However, the buck moves too far away from the bushes around and is now surrounded by the dogs.
Despite its attempts to stay alive, the dogs surround the waterbuck and have it on the ground shortly. The waterbuck did all it could to save itself, but the minute it touched the ground, it was doomed. The dogs start ripping its skin, and although it tries to get up and run, it has lost most of its strength, and the pack is too big to fight off in that condition. The waterbuck’s skin is very tough, but eventually, the pack of dogs finally cuts through and, in the process, rips out the buck’s unborn baby. Eventually, the waterbuck dies, and the dogs are left to eat. Because they run around a lot, wild dogs need extra protein, and the waterbuck was enough protein for all of them.
Surprisingly, wild dogs are peaceful feeders. They do not fight over the food but instead gather around and eat all at once. Once they eat to their satisfaction, these dogs try to get the blood off their face by rolling around in the dirt and on the grass. Whatever part of the waterbuck the dogs did not eat was left on the ground, and the video shows vultures swarming in to clean up the mess.