Canids of the World

  •  Monday, November 27th, 2023  Animalsforkids

    What is a canid? 

    A canid is a mammal from the Family Canidae and includes fox-like canids, wolf-like canids, the South American canids, and a few special canids.  Canids first evolved approximately 40 million years ago in North America.  By utilising both the Bearing sea land bridge and the bridge created by the uncovering of Central America, over a period of millions of years, they were able to greatly swell their range.  Now, they are spread the world over and live in all continents with the exception of Antarctica. A canid was possibly the first domesticated animal. Yep the domesticated dog, man’s best friend, was the first domesticated animal.  Canids vary quite a bit in size, from the smallest, the fennec fox at about 9.4 in (24 cm) in length and 0.6 kg (1.3 lb) in weight to the largest, the gray wolf at up to 5.2 ft (160 cm) long, and can weigh up to 174 lb (79 kg). Some canids are omnivores (red foxes and coyotes), and some canids have a purely carnivorous diet (like the dholes and African painted dogs), but none are exclusively herbivores. This can be validated by their dentition that comprises of sharp canine teeth and the carnassial (the upper pre-molar and lower molar) which are fit for shearing meat and tendons. The upper is employed for cutting and the lower carnassial is employed for grinding.  The ratio between the upper and the lower informs about the canids dietary habits. Canids are very social animals, living in large packs.  Dholes have been known to have packs with up to 40 members.  This social nature could explain why members of canid family were the first to banish the wild and form a special relationship with humans. Canids are truly a treasure of the natural world. Here are some from this family introducing themselves.

    The Dhole

    Hyālō! (Bengali for “hello”) I have been given the name Ban Kutta, but you can simply call me Ben.  I am a Dhole (Cuon alpinus). People alternatively call me the Indian Whistling dog, Asian wild dog, and the mountain wolf. Native to South Asia, including India, China and few other places as well, I live in tropical, dry, and moist deciduous forest; dry thorn forests; evergreen and semi-evergreen forests; grassland–scrub–forest mosaics; and alpine steppe, but never in desert regions.

    The Maned Wolf

    Ola! (Portuguese for “hello”) Named Mateo, I am a proud Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)!

    Native of South America, I live in dry scrub forests and grasslands of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Northern Argentina. Being shy and timid I usually live a solitary life. Being an omnivore I not only eat prey such as rodents, small birds and frogs but also vegetables and fruits (my favorites are bananas, apples, wolf apples and avocados).

    Mexican Grey Wolf

    ¡Hola! (Spanish for “hello”) I am a Mexican Grey Wolf (Canis Lupus baileyi) named Joaquin. I am also called the lobo.

    Native to North America I once used to live in mountainous forests and scrublands in northern Mexico, western Texas, southern New Mexico, and southeastern Arizona. I am a sub-species of the Grey Wolf. Presently, I am being released into these areas thru conservation programs.

    African Painted Dogs

    Jambo! (Swahili for “hello”) We are African Painted Dogs (Lycaon pictus) named Picasso & Van Gogh.

    We are renowned also as African Wild Dogs, Cape Hunting Dogs, or African Painted Wolves. Native to Eastern and Southern Africa we live in the savannah or sparse woodlands. We are extremely social and live in large packs. We are known for sharing food and even helping our sick family and friends.

    Arctic Fox

    Halu! (Inuktitut for “hello”) I am an Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) named Aurora.

    Native to Arctic regions in the Northern Hemisphere, I have learnt to protect myself from the harsh arctic climate, by living in an underground burrow. My size is akin to a large housecat and I usually weigh about 6-17 lbs. My diet comprises of small rodents, usually voles and lemmings, as well as fish, and other marine life.


    Hello! I am a Coyote (Canis latrans) named Dusty

    Native to North America, I live in open spaces and urban areas.

    I am known to be cathemeral (awake day or night), and am most active at dusk and dawn. I only weigh between 18-45 pounds. I and my family are exceptional runners and we can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour and cover distance of 13 feet in one jump! I am omnivorous and can steal the food you keep out for your pet and eat. I normally hunt for small animals like rats, mice, rabbits, gophers, and insects.

    Golden Jackal

    Bună! (Romanian for “hello”).  I am a Golden Jackal, (Canis aureus) named Jackie.

    I am native to Southern Asia and Southeast Europe. I can be sighted in valleys, beside rivers and their tributaries, lakes, canals, and seashores and even on low mountains and in forests. Just thinking about deserts makes me thirsty, so I avoid them.  I weigh about 30 pounds but others from my species can weigh as low as 13 pounds.

    Fennec Fox

    Marhaba.(Arabic for “hello”) I am a Fennec Fox (Vulpeszerda) named Felix.

    I am native to the Sahara Desert and other dry areas in Northern Africa and parts of the Middle East.

    We are the smallest canid in the world weighing approximately 2-3 lbs! Just to avoid the searing Saharan heat we prefer to be nocturnal. Our ear to body ratio is biggest among canids making us quite cute. We employ our rather large ears to aid regulate our body temperature and cool us down as we sleep in our burrows during the daytime.