African wild dog puppies burst out of den to greet their mother
Together with the Ethiopian wolf, the African wild dog is the rarest carnivore in Africa and getting to see these top hunting predators is rare. The wild dogs of Africa are excellent hunters and together in packs, they roam incredibly large areas in the last remaining protected areas in Southern Africa. Once a year during winter time, the African wild dog breeds and having the opportunity to see their young in the wild is a once in a lifetime experience. During a recent safari in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, we were lucky enough to visit a wild dog den that was discovered a few days earlier by a local ranger.
The African wild dog usually uses a burrow in an old termite mound as their den which they dig deeper to their preference. On our arrival at the den, the mother was outside alone and we could not see any puppies. It was not long before the mother moved to the entrance of the den and started calling her babies. The next moment a whole bunch of the most adorable wild dog puppies burst out of the hole in the mound. The wild dog puppies looked incredibly happy to see their loving mother. After greeting and checking on each one of her thirteen puppies, the wild dog mother allowed her babies to have their fill of milk. It was incredible to see so many puppies drinking on the mother all at once. After the mother wild dog was done, she allowed her extremely playful puppies to play and enjoy themselves outside the den. The wild dog puppies were very energetic, while biting, pushing and jumping on each other. The wild dog puppies totally maximized their somewhat fifteen minutes outside the den before they disappeared back into their hole. We left the sight of the den feeling very privileged to have seen such a natural wonder out in the African wild.