Meet the Bush Dog, also known as the “vinegar dog” or Speothos venaticus.
Chances are you’ve never heard of this tiny canid species native to a variety of habitats in both South and Central America. Although it’s stomping grounds are widespread, these little guys are incredibly rare. Like so rare that even with hundreds of camera traps taking thousands of photos, environmental scientists feel lucky to even get one successful snapshot of these precious pups.
Indigenous people claim to hear but very seldom see these tiny, 10-pound bear-dog-cat-hamsters. Not only are their numbers sadly dwindling, but Bush Dogs spend more than half of their day underground, making these little ninjas even harder to spot.
These miniature mutts have been described as compulsively social and are strategic hunters known to track their prey in packs. Often, one Bush Dog will herd the game towards the water where another will lie in wait to make the attack. And while they may not look especially aquatic, Bush Dogs have webbed feet, excellent not only for swimming but also tunneling after digging quarry such as armadillos.
Although their population is in danger, these pups breed very well in captivity and efforts are being made to save their species!
Can’t get enough Bush Dogs? Learn more in the Species Spotlight below.
Featured Image via Tambako The Jaguar / Flickr