Bush Dog

The bush dog is a candid, native to Central & South America. This cute looking dog is very rare in most areas and is the only living species in the genus Speothos. In Brazil, the bush dog is popular as cachorro-vinagre and in Spanish-speaking countries; these dogs are called Perro-Vinagre or Perro-de-monte. Bush dogs are elusive and are distantly related to maned-wolves.

Bush Dog

Bush Dog

 

Read on to explore some more information about this rarest mammal.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum:   Chordata

Class:        Mammalia

Order:       Carnivora

Family:      Canidae

Genus:      Speothos

Species:    S. venaticus

Binomial name: Speothos venaticus

Physical Description

Bush dogs, also popular as vinegar dogs, are typically small. They have long brownish fur, with a lighter reddish tinge on the head, neck, and back. Adults have a body length of 57 – 75 cm, with a tail measuring 12 – 15cm. Having a shoulder height of 20-30cm, bush dogs weigh not more than 8 kg. They have short legs, short snout, and small ears. Bush dogs have webbed toes, which allow them to swim faster.

Physical Description of Bush Dog

Physical Description of Bush Dog

Habitat

Bush dogs primarily inhabit lowland forests up to 1,900 meters elevation. They are found in wet savannas, habitats near rivers, drier cerrado, and open pasture. Bush dogs are semi-aquatic and thus, they are found near water.

Habitat of Bush Dog

The habitat of Bush Dog

Distribution

Bush dogs prefer living in lowland areas. Their distribution range starts from Panama southward to southern Paraguay, Brazil, and north-eastern Argentina. They are also found in northern margins of the Amazon basin, Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia.

Distribution of bush dog

Distribution of bush dog

Diet

Bush dogs are carnivorous and are known for being cooperative hunters. They mainly prey on large rodents like pacas and agoutis. Opportunistically, they take capybaras and rheas when hunting. Bush dogs are fond of hunting alone in open areas and they mostly prey on small rodents and lizards.

Behaviour

Check out their behavioural traits;

  • Bush dogs are active during the day.
  • They use abandoned nests for shelter at night.
  • Bush dogs are social.
  • They make their den in a burrow or hollow tree trunk.
  • They are excellent swimmers.
  • Bush dogs are known to be the most gregarious canid species.

 

Reproduction

There is nothing like any particular season for mating.

Reproduction of bush dog

Reproduction of bush dog

They mate throughout the year. Like other canids, bush dog mating includes a copulatory tie, during which the dogs are locked together. Urine marking plays an important role in their pre-copulatory behaviour. The gestation period lasts for 65-83 days. Female dogs produce three to six pups at a time. The pups are born blind and weigh 125 to 190 grams. Their eyes open after 14 – 19 days and the young are weaned at around four weeks.

 

Lifespan

Bush dogs have a lifespan of up to 10 years in captivity.

Predators

These dogs have no natural predators.

Pictures

Reproduction of bush dog

Reproduction of bush dog

Habitat of Bush Dog

Habitat of Bush Dog

Physical Description of Bush Dog

Physical Description of Bush Dog

Bush Dog

Bush Dog

Interesting Facts

  • Bush dogs are smaller than other canid species.
  • Their short stature helps them to hunt in the understory of a dense forest.
  • They live in a pack of up to 10 animals.
  • They produce a strong smell that resembles vinegar and thus they are known as vinegar dog.

Video

Conservation Status

IUCN classified bush dogs as near threatened.

References

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