The slender black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) is a long-legged, medium sized canid with a pointed, fox-like muzzle. The black and silver saddle marking on its back gives this species its distinctive appearance and name. The rest of the body is mainly reddish-brown to tan, becoming redder on the sides and legs. The black-backed jackal has a bushy tail with a black tip and large pointed ears. Its long legs have fused bones in the forelimbs, making it an excellent runner and enabling it to maintain a slow trot of 12 to 16 kilometres per hour for long periods of time. The male black-backed jackal is slightly larger and heavier than the female.