The golden jackal is an adaptable and opportunistic forager, feeding on a wide range of food sources, and active both day and night in areas where human disturbance is low. Although it may scavenge on carrion and garbage, it is also a skilled hunter of birds and mammals, up to the size of flamingos and young antelope, and also takes reptiles, fish, insects and fruit (2) (3) (6) (7) (8). The lithe body and long legs allow the jackal to travel easily over long distances while searching for food, which is typically swallowed rapidly, allowing it to be transported to a mate or young and then regurgitated, reducing the risk of theft by other predators. Pairs or families sometimes hunt cooperatively, and surplus food may be buried (2) (6) (7).
The golden jackal is monogamous, the breeding pair occupying a territory which is regularly scent-marked and defended against intruders (2) (3) (5) (6). Breeding usually occurs during the time of peak food availability, the female giving birth to up to nine pups in an underground den or disused termite mound, after a gestation period of around 63 days. The young golden jackal opens its eyes at ten days old, and is weaned by about four months (2) (3) (6) (7), by which time its dark coat has developed the pale colour of the adult (8). Although the golden jackal reaches sexual maturity at 11 months, the young typically remain with the adults for up to two years, during which time they often help feed and guard the next litter of pups (2) (3) (5) (7). Lifespan may be up to 8 years in the wild, or 16 in captivity (2) (3) (8).