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The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus, Illiger, 1815) is a canid of South America and is the only species of the genus Chrysocyon, a real survivor of the Pleistocene big mammals. Recent studies have shown that the maned wolf is not closely related to the currently popular canids: therefore represent a sort of “survivors” of the great South American mammals of the Pleistocene. Unfortunately, it is also a critically endangered species and endangered. There is little more than 2,000 specimens in the wild.
Unlike other canids, the maned wolf does not live in herds and does not hunt large prey. A very shy animal who rarely attacks or simply meets the man. Lives in pairs only when it comes to raising their families. Despite being a mainly nocturnal hunter of hares, birds and rodents, fruit is an important component of his diet, especially the wild tomato plant (Solanum lycocarpum) without which the animal would die of kidney infections. For this reason, the maned wolf contributes through its droppings to disperse the seeds of the plant. We can therefore talk about a real symbiosis, which also involves some species of ants.
Another peculiarity of this canid is its gait: walks and trots, but has not, in stark contrast to the wolves and other canids, no resistance to running. Its typical step is to raise both its long legs on the same side of the body by putting the weight on the other, peculiarity reserved to very few other species of animals including giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis).