An adult bush dog, part of a captive breeding program. Hudson Garcia Formidable predators stalk the forests between Panama and northern Argentina. They are sometimes heard but never seen. They are small but feisty and have even been documented trying to take down a tapir, which can top out at nearly 400 pounds. Chupacabras? No. Bush dogs. This wild canid is about the size of a Scottish terrier but looks more like a rust-colored wolverine than any Toto you know. Not that you’ll ever see a wild bush dog in person. Even those who have lived their whole lives in these forests are often unable to identify the species from a photograph. "But they know bush dogs by their songs," said Karen DeMatteo , a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis. That’s right—they sing. Like most canids, bush dogs are highly social. They spend nearly all of their time in tight-knit family groups, and they hunt as a team, joining forces to catch and kill everything from small rodents like pacas and agoutis to larger prey such as armadillos, deer, and capybaras. They use a variety of vocalizations to coordinate their attacks, and to the untrained ear, DeMatteo […]


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