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[Belated] Wednesday Woof - Cuon alpinus Edition

Back from Austin! Thanks to everyone who gave me recommendations. I ate at Kerbey Lane, Chuy's (Holy crap that salsa is so fresca!), walked down Sixth, went to the Capitol, and nearly tore my hair out in frustration trying to drive anywhere. Even with my GPS, I had to make many, many more corrections than I wanted to, because y'all have these crazy parallel roads and highways and sometimes they're the same road. How even is that?

Today is going to be a Wednesday Woof/Caturday double feature. Expect Caturday pretty soon after this goes up.


The Dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a canid that can be found in South and Southeast Asia, and is also called the Indian Wild Dog or Asiatic Wild Dog. The Dhole is social and runs in packs. It is the only extant member of the genus Cuon. This is a canid of many names, as it's called "Dhole" only in English. This name may have derived from the Kannada word tola, which means "wolf." The Dhole is known by many local names, like lal rakshasa (red devil), jungli rakshasa (jungle devil) or rakshur kukur (devil dog), or even "Hound of Kali."

There are eleven recognized subspecies of Dhole:

  • Cuon alpinus alpinus
  • Cuon alpinus fumosus
  • Cuon alpinus lepturus
  • Cuon alpinus hesperius
  • Cuon alpinus laniger
  • Cuon alpinus primaevus
  • Cuon alpinus adjustus
  • Cuon alpinus dukhunensis
  • Cuon alpinus infuscus
  • Cuon alpinus sumatrensis
  • Cuon alpinus javanicus

Dhole are actually more social even than wolves. Their hierarchy is based less on dominance, and dominant animals in a Dhole pack are harder to identify than dominant animals in a wolf pack. Wolf packs are called so because it's always the same group of animals hunting together. Dhole live in large family groups called clans, which break into groups of 3 - 5 animals to hunt. They aren't as territorial as wolves, either, as clans can and do join together without much trouble once all of their members are sexually mature. If they do mark their territories, it is not by urinating or scratching the ground, in the case of other social canids. They hunt mostly ungulates like water buffalo and various types of deer, but will also take down boar, rodents and there is even a documented case of a pack successfully hunting an elephant calf, in spite of the calf's mother's fierce defense which killed several pack members.


Female Dhole will give birth to a litter of four to six pups after a gestation period of 60 to 63 days. Dhole pups mature quickly, similar to the growth rate of Coyotes. Packs will feed the mother of the pups at the den site, and one or two other adults will stay with the mother to help protect the pups. Pups will go out on the hunt when they reach six months of age, and they are among the first to eat when the pack's hunt is successful. Home dens range from the relatively simple to very complex, with multiple entrances and connecting tunnels.


Dhole communicate with each other with a wide range of vocalizations, including "coo-coos" that are similar to that of the Red Fox, whines, yaps, chatters, and when hunting, a screaming "kakakakaaa" sound. They do not howl. Dhole are considered to be endangered by the IUCN, and face threats of habitat and prey loss, predator competition, human persecution and disease from feral dogs.

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