The pack of African wild dogs we call the Splinter Pack surprised us earlier this year by producing a second litter of pups, just as the first litter were ready to leave the den. The pack only has two adult females and one adult male – the rest were yearlings – so it was even more surprising to see the subordinate female breeding.
The alpha female had 12 pups and the beta litter was seven. Sadly, I didnt get too much time to spend at the den watching them, but from the camera trap photos it is obvious that the alpha pups found their younger siblings something of a curiosity.
It’s not often that these second litters survive too well, but usually it’s because the alpha female either kills them in the den, or does not allow the beta female to den long enough to give the pups a chance in life. In this case, the pups were allowed to remain at their own den until they were 3 months old, the usual age for pups to leave the den. So far however, it looks like only 4 of the 7 have survived, but we dont know what happened to the other three. We’ve only counted once though, since they left the den, so I’m hoping the others were just hiding at the time!
Just for fun, here’s a photo of them enjoying the rain – not!
Will keep you updated with how they do.