Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā

Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen

Canis aureus

zusammengestellt von Alois Payer

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Carakasaṃhitā: Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen. -- Canis aureus.  -- Fassung vom 2010-12-09. -- URL:    

Erstmals publiziert:


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung SS 2007

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Abb.: Canis aureus - Goldschakal, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan (राजस्थान)
[Bildquelle: Digital.Knave. -- -- Zugriff am 2007-07-15. --  NamensnennungKeine kommerzielle NutzungKeine BearbeitungCreative Commons Lizenz  (Namensnennung, keine kommerzielle Nutzung, keine Bearbeitung)]

Abb.: Verbreitungsgebiet von Canis aureus - Goldschakal
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia]


"It is a good omen when a fox shows his face, so a sympathetic saying runs, "The fox gives luck to everybody, but himself is thinking of the dogs all the time." A sly fellow is called a fox in India as elsewhere, and the animal plays a part in some stories. But the jackal is the true Mr. Reynard of Eastern folk tales, the great original of the best of our fox stories ; sweet-toothed, mischievous, lurking ; and as full of resource as Brer' Rabbit.

The jackal's night-cry, the wild chorus with which the band begins its hungry prowl, is of evil omen, which is wonderful, seeing that in nearly every town and village of the vast continent it is heard about the same hour of the evening ; but it is believed that when the cry is raised near the house of a sick person, it is a sure presage of death, and that jackals scent coming dissolution, much as sharks are said by sailors to scent death on a ship. There are endless stories in favour of this belief.

The jackal's chorus is so sudden and shrill a clamour, so importunate and ear-filling, that one daily marvels at its equally sudden cessation. The air ought to go on vibrating with these fearsome yells, but it abruptly shuts down on them, still as a sleeping pond. And you resume your talk or work, but the creature with that one imprecation has sworn himself to hours of silence. Thereafter he goes dumbly to a night of hungry and often ghoulish research, for his sanscrit-born name is "greedy." But when going on a morning journey, the distant cry of one jackal (besides being rare) is lucky, as says a North-West Provinces rhyme, translated by Mr. Crooke in his valuable Agricultural Glossary : "A donkey on the left, a jay (the roller is meant) on the right, and a jackal howling in the distance all omens of wealth and happiness. Go, and bring home four bags of gold." A jackal crossing the road to the left is lucky, to the right, unlucky.

Very many stories of the jackal are to be found in old books and folk-lore, but in the talk of to-day he scarcely takes the high place to which his classic reputation entitles him, being used as much as an object of derision as a model of cleverness. Most modern native humour, however, takes the form of irony. His talents are acknowledged in a saying which classes him with that busy and important person, the barber : "The jackal is the sharpest among beasts, the crow among birds, and the barber among men." The barber of India is, in fact, a clever Figaro ; news-bearer, matrimonial agent, surgeon, and busybody in general. The painted jackal who fell into the dyers' vat and set up as king on the strength of his fine colour, has strayed from the Panchatantra into modern life, and you may hear of "painted jackals" being elected to the honours of a municipal "Kemety" (committee). "The jackal fell into a well, I think I will rest here to-day, said he" is a charming way to express the making the best of a downright bad job. "The jackal born in August says of the September flood, I never saw so much water in all my life," is a popular snub for youthful conceit. So also is, "The horse and the elephant are swept away, and the jackal asks Is it deep ?" " The jackal fell into the river and cried, The deluge has come and all the world is drowning !" recalls the American "Thinks the bottom has tumbled out of the universe because his own tin-pot leaks," or the drunken English skipper, who, when fished out of London dock, went dripping to the cuddy and gravely wrote in his log-book, "This night the ship went down, and all hands were drowned but me." He is supposed to be the friend and guide of the tiger, so the hangers-on of powerful persons are known as jackals. Boy and jackal have the same name in the North-West Provinces, and neither has much right to complain. "The jackal slips away and your stick jars on the ground," is a saying of obvious meaning.

Not that a stick would be of much avail against a jackal, for they say, no matter how savagely he may be beaten, he will pick his sore body up when left to die, and slink away to resume a life of crime. I once saw a large Irish retriever do all he knew to kill a jackal, and at last, in despair of the efficacy of his teeth, he dragged him at a hint from his master to a pond and drowned him fit for any coroner.

The jackal afflicted with rabies is a deadly creature, and more common than one likes to think. Menu, the wise Hindu law-giver, was consistently brutal to women, and after classing wives as "marital property" with cows, mares, she-camels, slave-girls, shegoats, and ewes, he says the wife who violates her duty to her husband is disgraced in this world, and after death she enters into the womb of a jackal and is tormented by diseases ! There is a hateful monotony in the abuse bestowed on women. Nowadays no one greatly cares for Menu, but in the East, as in the West, the baser sort habitually call their women folk by the name of the female dog.

India is probably the cradle of wolf- child stories, which are here universally believed and supported by a cloud of testimony, including in the famous Lucknow case of a wolf boy the evidence of European witnesses. And there are many who firmly believe in the power of magicians to transform themselves into wolves at will. But though the wolf is probably the parent of all dogs, he is, as a wild beast, beyond the narrow scope of this sketch."

[Quelle: : Kipling, John Lockwood <1837-1911>: Beast and man in India : a popular sketch of Indian animals in their relations with the people. -- London ; New York : Macmillan, 1904. -- xii, 401 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- S. 277 - 281. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-10-25]


"THE JACKAL (Canis aureus).

With the common jackal we come to the first of a group of species of smaller size than the true wolves, with which they are to some extent connected by the one last described. Their bushy tails are relatively shorter than in the wolves, being generally equal to about one-third the length of the head and body; and their skulls may be distinguished by the smaller size of the flesh-teeth as compared with the molar teeth behind them. As in the case of the wolves, there is some difference of opinion as to the specific identity of the jackals of different countries. The Asiatic jackal is subject to considerable individual variation in point of size ; the length of the head and body varying from 2 to 2½ feet. Its general colour varies from a pale isabelline to a pale rufous, with a larger or smaller admixture of black on the upper-parts. The under-parts are paler, and the muzzle, ears, and the outer sides of the limbs more rufous than the rest. The reddish brown hairs of the tail have long black tips, thus forming a distinct black tip to the tail itself. The African variety is of rather larger size, with relatively longer ears ; and the sides of the body are greyer, and the outer surfaces of the limbs less rufous. Occasionally rufous, black, and white varieties of the jackal have been met with ; the latter being true albinos.

The jackal ranges from the south-eastern countries of Europe to India and Ceylon; thence it extends through Assam to Northern Pegu and the neighbourhood of Mandalay, although it is much less common east of the Bay of Bengal than in India. In Northern Africa it inhabits Egypt and Abyssinia, and the districts to the north of the Sahara. In the Himalaya it ascends to from three to four thousand feet above the sea-level. Throughout India it may be found indifferently in hilly or plain country, in forest or open districts, or in large cities.

Although jackals are frequently in the habit of going singly or in pairs, they often associate in packs, which may be of considerable size ; these assemblages being more frequent at night than during the daytime. In India the jackal is considered by Mr. Blanford to be a more decidedly nocturnal animal than the wolf, but its wanderings are by no means confined to the night; and, during the winter, jackals may be seen abroad at all hours of the day. In extremely hot weather they appear to suffer much, and may be found either lying in the water, where they spend most of the day, or sneaking away therefrom, instead of being, as usual, hidden away in their holes. Their food comprises not only arrion and the flesh of such animals as they are able to kill, but also fruit, maize, and sugar-cane. In the towns and villages of India the jackals act as efficient scavengers. Occasionally they take to killing poultry and lambs or kids; and Jerdon states that weakly goats and sheep often become their prey, while wounded antelopes are tracked down and killed. Among vegetable foods, the chief favourite seems to be the so-called ber-fruit ; but Prof. Ball reports that in certain districts jackals do enormous damage to the sugar plantations, biting ten or a dozen canes for one they eat. Like the civet in Java, jackals in the Wynaad district of Madras feed on the ripe fruit of the coffee plant.

Somewhat curiously, the jackal of Eastern Europe and Asia Minor agrees with the Indian rather than with the African variety ; the general colour being a pale dirty yellow, more or less tinged with rufous, with a variable amount of black on the back. In the Morea, where these animals are very common, they are asserted to be in the habit of disinterring dead bodies from the graveyards.

The cry of a pack of jackals, when heard for the first time, strikes the ear with a peculiarly blood-curdling chill, and gives the impression that it is uttered by a much larger number of individuals than is really the case. Mr. Blanford describes the cry as consisting of two parts ; first, "a long wailing howl, three or four times repeated, each note a little higher than the preceding, and then a succession of usually three quick yelps, also repeated two or three times. The common Anglo-Indian version of ' Dead Hindoo, where, where, where,' gives some idea of the call." In the so-called variegated jackal of the Abyssinian Highlands, which is sometimes regarded as specifically distinct from the ordinary North African form, the second half of the cry is omitted. In addition to the ordinary cry there is, however, as the same writer remarks, another very peculiar call, "only uttered by the jackal, it is believed, when a tigeror a leopard is in the neighbourhood, and certainly uttered upon such occasions. The cry is unmistakable ; I have several times heard it ; but the jackal that makes it carries us at once into the region of fable and folk-lore. The same story that has existed on the shores of the Mediterranean for two thousand years at least, that a jackal acts as scout for the lions, or 'lions' provider,' and is repaid by a share of the prey, is commonly believed with regard to the tiger in India ; and it is this peculiar jackal, known as Pheal, Phiou, or Phnew, in Northern India, the name being taken from the cry, and as Bhalu, or Kol-bhalu in Southern and Western India, that is said to invariably precede the tiger, and to make the call just noticed. Several observers have, however, remarked that the jackal which makes the cry follows the tiger and does not precede him ; and Blyth has observed that a pariah dog, on sniffing a collection of caged tigers in Calcutta, set up a most extraordinary howl, probably similar to that of the Pheal."

Occasionally the skull of the jackal has a peculiar bony process growing from the upper part of the occiput, which is said to be covered during life by a horny sheath, concealed among the hair, forming the so-called "jackal's horn." The female jackal generally gives birth to her young in a hole in the ground, although they have been found in an old drain; the number of cubs in a litter being usually from three to five. The pariah dogs of India breed freely with the jackal.

Fossil remains of the jackal occur in the Siwalik Hills of Northern India."

[Quelle: Lydekker, Richard <1849-1915>: The royal natural history / edited by Richard Lydekker ; with preface by P.L. Sclate. -- London ; New York : F. Warne, 1893-96. -- 6 Bde. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. -- Bd. 1. -- S. 502 - 504. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-27]


"Canis aureus. The Jackal.

Canis aureus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 59 (1766) ; Elliot, Madr. Journ. L. 8. x, p. 101 ; Sli/th, Cat. p. 40 ; Jerdon, Mam. p. 142.
Canis aureus indicus, Hodgson, As. Res. xviii, p. 237.
Sacalius iudicus and Oxygoiis indicus, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. x, p. 908.

Gidār, Siyāl, or Shiāl, Phiāl, H. ; Laraiya, Bandelkand ; Shigal, Pers. ; Srigala, Sansc. ; Shāl (male) , Shāaj (fem.) , Kashmiri ; Tolāgh, Baluchi ; Kolā, Mahr. and Dakh. ; Karincha, Ho Kol ; Kolial, Nerka, Gond. ; Nari, Can.; Kalla-Nari, Tam. ; Nakka, Tel. ; Karaken, Nari, Mal. ; Naria, Cing.; Amu, Bhot. ; Hiyāl, Assamese ; Meshrong, Kachari ; Hijal, Joksat, Mikir ; Hian, Naga ; Mye-khwe, Burm.

Tail with the hair at the end about one third the length of the head and body. As a rule, the upper sectorial is much shorter than the two true upper molars taken together ; but in two out of twelve measurements given by Huxley the length is the same. Mammae 10.

Colour. Pale isabelline to pale rufous, more or less mixed with black on the upper parts ; muzzle, ears, and outside of limbs more rufous ; lower parts paler, sometimes nearly white ; hair of the fore neck with dusky tips. The underfur on the back is brown, paler at the base, the longer hairs on the back beyond the underfur grey with black tips. The tail-hairs are reddish brown, with long black terminations, making a black tail-tip. Bright rufous, coal-black, and pure white albino individuals have also been recorded (Blyth, J. A. S. B. xxvii, p. 275).

Dimensions. Variable, some animals being much larger than others. The head and body certainly vary from 2 feet to 2 feet 6 inches in length, and I have seen measurements given of 2 feet 8 inches, though these must, I think, have been taken on skins. A large male from the Nipalese Terai measured : head and body 30 inches, tail without hair at the end 9, with hair 11, ear 3*2 ; weight 20 lbs. A small female from Rajputana measured : head and body 24-6, tail without hair 9, with hair 12.1, ear 3.2, hind foot from heel 5.5. Skulls are also very variable (see Huxley, P. Z. S. 1880, p. 277); a large one measures 5.8 inches in basal length and 3.5 in zygomatic breadth, an adult female 4.95 by 2.9.

Distribution. The jackal is found throughout the whole of India and Ceylon, on hills and plains, in forest and open country, and even in populous cities. It ascends the Himalayas to an elevation of 3000 or 4000 feet, and is occasionally found higher, especially around hill-stations, whilst it is common on the Nilgiris in Southern India. It is more rare east of the Bay of Bengal, but is found in Assam and Cachar, and is not uncommon at Akyab and about Thayet Myo in Northern Pegu. It has also recently been observed close to Mandalay. The only place where I have heard of its occurrence farther south or east is near Moulmain, where Mr. Theobald tells me he once saw two; but it is possible these might have been introduced. West of India it extends throughout South-western Asia to the Caucasus, and is found in South-eastern Europe in Greece and Turkey, and as far west as Dalmatia, also throughout Northern Africa, being replaced by closely allied species in the Ethiopian region.

Habits. Jackals are found singly or two or more together, and they sometimes associate in considerable numbers, especially at night, as is shown by their bowlings. They are principally nocturnal, more so, I think, than the Indian wolf, but by no means exclusively ; in the cold season they may be seen about at all hours. Their food is very varied, consisting of carrion of all kinds, any beasts or birds that they can master, and, in default of animal food, fruit. The jackal is one of the common scavengers of towns and villages, feeding on offal or dead carcases of any kind, and occasionally killing poultry or even lambs or kids. "Sickly sheep and goats usually fall a prey to him, and a wounded antelope is pretty certain to be tracked and hunted to death by jackals" (Jerdon). Amongst fruits, he especially feeds on ber (Zizyphus), and he is said in several parts of India to be very fond of sugarcane and of maize. " In Wynaad, as well as in Ceylon, he devours considerable quantities of ripe coffee-berries ; the seeds pass through him, well pulped, and are found and picked up by the coolies ; it is asserted that the seeds so found make the best coffee !" (Jerdon). As Sterndale explains, these seeds are the best because the jackals select the finest fruit. The cry of the jackal is familiar to all who have ever resided in the countries inhabited by the animal, and consists of two parts a long wailing howl three or four times repeated, each repetition in a note a little higher than the preceding, and then a succession of usually three quick yelps, also repeated two or three times. The common Anglo-Indian version of " Dead Hindoo ; where, where, where," gives some idea of the call. In one African jackal, G. variegatus of Abyssinia, the second portion of the cry is entirely wanting. There is, however, another, a very peculiar call, only uttered by the jackal, it is believed, when a tiger or leopard is in the neighbourhood, and certainly uttered upon such occasions. The cry is unmistakable, I have several times heard it ; but the jackal that makes it carries us at once into the region of fable and folk-lore. The same story that has existed on the shores of the Mediterranean for two thousand years at least, that a jackal acts as scout for the lion, or " lion's provider," and is repaid by a share of the prey, is commonly believed with regard to the tiger in India ; and it is this peculiar jackal, known as Pheāl, or Phiou, or Phnew (see Torrens, 3. A. 8. E. xviii, p. 788) in Northern India, the name being taken from the cry, and as Bhālu or Kol bhālu in Southern and Western India, that is said to invariably precede the tiger and to make the call just noticed. Several observers have, however, remarked that the jackal which makes the cry follows the tiger and does not precede him ; and Mr. Blyth has observed that a pariah dog, on sniffing a collection of caged tigers in Calcutta, set up a most extraordinary howl, probably similar to that of the Pheāl. Jerdon gives an excellent abstract of the opinions expressed by various writers, and concludes, as others have done, that the cry is an alarm-note. This appears probable ; tigers, if they have an opportunity and are hungry, may kill and eat jackals, and leopards certainly do so. Another belief, which appears widely diffused in India and Ceylon, is that a horn grows on the head of some jackals, and is of great virtue to its possessor.

The jackal is occasionally hunted by hounds, and gives a good run, but is quickly caught by greyhounds, who, however, cannot always dispose of him easily. He is, Jerdon says, very tenacious of life, and shams dead in a way to deceive even experienced sportsmen.

The period of gestation in the jackal is usually said to be sixty-three days, the same as in the wolf and dog ; but, as might be expected, there is some variation, and there appears good reason for believing that the time in the jackal is a few days less  on an average. The number of young in a litter is about four; the female brings forth in holes in the ground, occasionally (as Jerdon remarks) in dry drains. That some breeds of domestic dogs, perhaps all the smaller races, are derived from jackals appears to be the opinion of most competent naturalists. The two breed together freely, and it is probable that some of the jackal-like dogs seen about Indian villages may be hybrids.

Jackals are liable to attacks of rabies, and mad animals are not uncommon, many cases of hydrophobia having resulted from their bites both in men and animals."

[Quelle: Blanford, W. T. <1832 – 1905>: Mammalia. -- 1888 - 1891. -- (Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma). -- S. 140 - 142. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-06]



" The jackals' troop, in gathered cry,
Bay'd from afar complainingly,
With a mix'd and mournful sound,
Like crying babe, and beaten hound."
The Siege of Corinth.

"Also in that country there be beasts taught of men to go into
waters, into rivers, and into deep stanks for to take fish ; the
which beast is but little, and men clepe them loirs."

JACKALS, Canis aureus, are often spoken of as though they were unmitigated nuisances, but there is much to be said in their favour quite apart from the fact of their being most efficient scavengers.

There may be places in which they abound to an extent rendering their nocturnal concerts really annoying, but, if there be, I have had no experience of them, and must confess to having always regarded them as a pleasing variety in the nightly din of frogs and insects, and even to a certain regret over their absence in the British Islands. The intermittent character of their music prevents it from getting on one's nerves in the way that the ceaseless baying of pariah dogs so often does ; the sounds of its solos and choruses are frequently positively melodious when they come from a distance, and, although this hardly holds good when they are uttered close at hand, the blood-curdling and fiendish character that they then have is in itself not without a peculiar fascination of its own. As one lies wakeful in a steamy, hot night, wearied out by the incessant shrilling and whirring of insects and the explosively crackling cries of the frogs, it is quite refreshing to become suddenly aware that a jackal has begun to wail close at hand, and to hear him repeat his doleful call until his comrades begin to answer him, first in twos and threes, and then in full chorus, coming nearer and nearer, until at length their arrival is announced by the soft tread of many feet and a subdued conversation of yapping barks (Plate XVI.). It is pleasant, too, to look out on a brilliantly moonlight night and see a large jackal bathing in the dewy grass, lying about and rolling on the cool, drenched turf with such manifest pleasure that one is almost tempted to follow his example.

A Jackal calling his Friends to a Feast (p. 268).

Thirty years ago the streets of Calcutta were nightly haunted by troops of jackals, yelling and racing about from place to place in quest of prey, but the closure of open drains and improved scavenging have gradually diminished their numbers. So long as heaps of offal and garbage lay about in all the streets, and the cavernous recesses of drainage culverts provided convenient lurking-places, the town was a perfect paradise for such animals, and a great number of jackals were permanent inhabitants of it, but now during a great part of the year few are to be seen or heard save in the outskirts of the town proper or in the suburbs. Even at present, however, when the monsoon-rains have been sufficient to flood the surrounding country to any considerable extent, troops of them come in during the latter part of summer and the beginning of autumn. At this time they often take up their quarters beneath houses in which all the iron gratings over the openings of the sub-structure of the basement are not in good repair. In such circumstances their presence can be readily explained, and excites no special notice, but at other times of year, and particularly when the uninvited guests are solitary individuals, this is not the case, as there is a widely diffused belief that when a solitary jackal becomes unwontedly tame he is usually suffering from an attack of rabies. It is by no means easy to dislodge them after they have once established themselves beneath a house, as it is necessary to be quite certain that none of them are in residence at the time at which measures are taken to close the openings leading to their retreats. It would be easy enough to imprison and starve them to death, but no one who has ever experienced the horrors attending the death of a rat beneath the flooring of a room would dream of running any risk of setting up a cemetery of jackals in the basement of his house, where the complicated system of ventilating channels consists of tunnels along which no dogs of any considerable size can make their way. If small dogs be allowed to enter, as they are only too anxious to do, there is not only a risk of their coming to grief in encounters with the intruders, but also no small chance of their losing their way in the labyrinth. The latter mishap once overtook a favourite terrier of mine when she pursued a cat who had taken refuge below the house, and she was only in the end recovered by dint of the destruction of an intact grating that closed an opening to which she had made her way in the course of her wanderings.

Where they are allowed to feed unmolested at particular places, jackals often become very bold, and may be seen at the sides of suburban roads feeding, in the company of pariah dogs and cats, on the contents of heaps of rubbish that lie awaiting the visits of the scavengers' carts. These assemblies are usually quite peaceful, but now and then the dogs and jackals will wrangle and scuffle over the possession of some specially attractive treasure. As a rule the jackals take no notice of any one who may pass along the road, but, should he halt to watch them, they slink off to a short distance and await his departure in order to resume their meal. They vary greatly in appearance at different times of year.

During winter, when their coats are in best condition, they are really handsome animals, and very young cubs are always most fascinating in their innocent playfulness. During the height of summer they feel the heat greatly, and are always ready to avail themselves of any opportunities of mitigating it that may be provided by their environment. As a train rushes at mid-day along parts of the line flanked by hollows, that are filled with water during the rainy season and in which the soil retains a certain amount of moisture and coolness even in the hot weather, startled jackals may be seen running up the slopes to sit panting in the full blaze of the sunshine until it seems safe to return to their shaded retreats ; and in the evening, as the dusk sets in, whole troops come streaming out and loiter on the banks until sufficiently revived to set out on their nightly rounds."

[Quelle: Cunningham, D. D. (David Douglas) <1843-1914>: Some Indian friends and acquaintances; a study of the ways of birds and other animals frequenting Indian streets and gardens. --  London : J. Murray, 1903. -- viii, 423 S. : Ill. ; 21 cm. -- S. 267 - 271. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-15]