The jackal is any of three (sometimes four) small to medium-sized members of the family Canidae, found in Africa, Asia and Southeastern Europe. Jackals fill a similar ecological niche to the Coyote in North America, that of scavengers and lesser predators. Their long legs and curved canine teeth are adapted for hunting small mammals, birds and reptiles. Blunt feet and fused leg bones give them a long-distance runner's physique, capable of maintaining speeds of 16km/h (10mph) (just over 6 min/mile) for extended periods of time. They are nocturnal, most active at dawn and dusk.

In jackal society the social unit is that of a monogamous pair which defends its territory from other pairs. These territories are defended by vigorously chasing intruding rivals and marking landmarks around the territory with urine and feces. Jackals may occasionally assemble in small packs, for example to scavenge a carcass, but normally hunt alone or as a pair.