Watch A Proud Baboon Fearlessly Confront A Pack Of Wild Dogs Looking For Trouble

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 15, 2023

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Close up of wild dog
© Richard Juilliart/Shutterstock.com

Key Points

  • A large baboon does not believe that they have anything to fear from a pack of wild dogs.
  • Experts used to think that wild dogs would avoid hunting baboons because they weren’t worth their energy.
  • A study used observations to conclude that in some areas of Zimbabwe, baboons comprised a substantial part of wild dogs’ diet.

This is a fascinating interaction between two African native species. Neither the baboons nor the dogs appeared to have the upper hand here. That said, they didn’t ignore each other either. As the video shows, a large baboon does not believe that they have anything to fear from a pack of wild dogs. Is that true?

olive baboon standing in field

A group of wildlife filmmakers captured footage of a pack of wild dogs killing a baboon in 2018.

©iStock.com/neil bowman

African Wild Dog Population: How Many Are Left in the Wild?

The scientific name for African wild dogs is Lycaon pictus but they are sometimes called hunting dogs or African painted dogs. Their distinctive coat is both colorful and patchy. Interestingly, no two dogs have the same markings – they are all unique.  

According to the IUCN, they are an endangered species. In 2012 there were only 1,409 mature individuals in the wild and the population was decreasing. They were once distributed widely throughout sub-Saharan Africa but have disappeared from much of their former range.

wild dogs

African wild dogs are now considered an endangered species, according to the IUCN.

©bayazed/Shutterstock.com

Now, they are limited to smaller populations in a number of African countries including Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa. They are now extinct in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and several other countries.

Do African Wild Dogs Prey On Baboons?

African wild dogs are very successful at hunting as a pack

©charles Hopkins/Shutterstock.com

African wild dogs are carnivores who hunt a variety of prey as a pack. Cooperation is achieved through social structures and communication. Their prey includes gazelles (and other antelopes) along with warthogs. They will also target wildebeest calves and supplement larger kills with rats and birds. These are intelligent and fast animals (they can reach 35 mph) and they are rarely unsuccessful in a kill.

So, what about baboons? Experts used to think that wild dogs would avoid hunting baboons because the energy that they gain from consuming the baboon is not that much more than what they expend trying to catch it! They would be better to target a larger herbivore such as an antelope. Nevertheless, recent anecdotal evidence and scientific studies have challenged this position. A group of wildlife filmmakers from the UK captured footage of a pack killing a baboon in 2018. Furthermore, a study used observations and fecal sample analysis to conclude that in some areas of Zimbabwe, baboons were making up a substantial part of wild dogs’ diet.  So, this baboon had a lucky escape!


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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