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The animal on the cover of Web Site Cookbook is the common or golden jackal (Canis aureus). Golden jackals have long been associated with superstitions about death and evil spirits, which were most likely inspired by their nocturnal habits, eerie howling, and affinity for lurking on the edges of deserts, especially near cemeteries. In fact, Anubis, the first Egyptian god of the dead, was depicted with a jackal's head and a human body.
Golden jackals are widespread throughout north and east Africa, southeastern Europe, and south Asia. They live in dry, open country, favoring savannas, deserts, and arid grasslands. Jackals are often described as having a strong physical resemblance to dogs, and if brought into the home as pups, they adopt similar temperaments to some dogs. Generally, they are between 70 and 85 centimeters long and have a tail of about 25 centimeters long. Not surprisingly, the golden jackal has sandy, golden-colored fur, which grows darker in the winter.
Jackals are among a small group of monogamous mammalian species. Most jackal families consist of a mated pair and their young. Sometimes, families have one or two extra adult members or "helpers" who assist parents in taking care of their pups. These units are vital to sustaining a family because it often takes a team effort to feed everyone. For example, both the parents and the helpers will scavenge and transport food in their stomachs to be regurgitated for pups or lactating mothers who can't hunt.
Jackals are omnivores. They are opportunistic eaters who feed on a wide range of prey, including young gazelles, rodents, snakes, insects, hares, ground birds, reptiles, frogs, fish, fruit, and grass. They'll also often follow lions and other big cats to pick over their kills. Of course, jackals have a few predators of their own to worry about, such as leopards, hyenas, eagles, and sometimes humans, who kill them for their fur.
The cover image is from Lydekker's Royal History. The cover font is Adobe ITC Garamond. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSans Mono Condensed.