Identifying the predator

Accurate identification of the damage-causing animal (DCA) preying on your livestock is critical to a predator management strategy.

Bite marks to the throat probably indicate that a caracal or a jackal has predated on the animal.
Photo: Robyn Joubert

Identification is fairly simple when you know what signs to look for. Stray or feral domestic dogs usually chase stock, biting them randomly on the body, tearing out wool or hide, often inflicting horrific wounds, but not necessarily killing them outright.
Caracal (Caracal caracal) and black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), usually kill their prey cleanly by biting it around the windpipe and quickly suffocating it. Bite marks should be visible on either side of the throat.

However, their eating habits differ. The caracal usually eats a chunk from the meaty parts of the upper hind legs, while the jackal will open the carcass, eat the soft internal organs and nibble at the ribs. The caracal may return to the carcass later.