Litter size varies with 8 pups being the average, but litters of up to 22 pups have been recorded. An adult dog is left to guard the den while the rest of the pack goes out to hunt.
Once a hunt has been successful, the dogs involved will quickly consume their kill, only taking around 15 minutes to finish off an impala (depending on pack size). The meat will then be safely transported in the bellies of the dogs back to the den. On arrival at the den the pups will beg from the adults, often licking their faces, encouraging regurgitation with a cacophony of squealing and excitement. Whole chunks of meat will be brought up for the little ones to eat. The dogs that were left on sentry duty will often then swap with the returnees and go and feed too.
This process will take place until the pups are roughly 2 ½ months old. At this stage they will start to move with the pack. During hunts the youngsters will struggle to keep up with the adults and sometimes become separated – but they will then use scent and hearing to relocate the rest of the pack. If this fails the pack will come to find the youngsters, or pack members that get split up during the hunt will take them back to the kill. The cooperation of these dogs is crucial to their survival, and allows them to take down bigger prey than they would manage if they were solitary hunters.
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