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Average life span in the wild: 6 to 8 years
Size: Head and body, 36 to 63 in (91 to 160 cm); Tail, 13 to 20 in (33 to 51 cm)
Weight: 40 to 175 lbs (18 to 79 kg)
Group name: Pack
Average length females: 4.5 to 6 feet (tip of nose to tip of tail)
males: 5 to 6.5 feet
Average height 26 to 32 inches (at the shoulder)
Average weight females: 60 to 80 pounds
males: 70 to 110 pounds
Average foot size 4 inches wide by 5 inches long
Length of Life up to 13 years in wild (usually 6 to 8 years)
up to 16 years in captivity
Fur color gray, but can also be black or white
Number of teeth 42 teeth
Breeding season February to March
Gestation period 63 days
Weight at birth 1 pound
Litter size 4 to 6 pups
Pack size 2 to 30 or more
Average pack size 6 to 8
Pack territory size 25 to 150 square miles in Minnesota
300 to 1,000 in Alaska and Canada
Average travel speed 5 miles per hour
Sprinting speed 36 to 38 miles per hour for short distances
Common food deer, moose, caribou, elk, bison, musk-oxen and beaver.
The howl, the spine-tingling howl, which they use to communicate, gives the wolf away. A lone wolf howls to attract the attention of his pack, while communal howls may send territorial messages from one pack to another. Some howls are confrontational. Similar to barking domestic dogs, wolves may simply begin howling because a nearby wolf has already begun.
Wolves are the biggest in the dog family. Adaptable gray wolves are by far the most common. Gray Wolves were all over the Northern Hemisphere. But wolves and humans have a long adversarial history. Though they almost never attack humans, wolves are considered one of the animal world's most fearsome natural villains. They do attack domestic animals, and countless wolves have been shot, trapped, and poisoned because of their love for domestic pets.
Wolfpack hierarchy is established strictly, with a dominant male at the top and his mate not far behind. Usually this male and female are the only animals of the pack to breed. All of a pack's adults help to care for young pups by bringing them food and looking after them while others hunt.
A pack is usually made up of a male parent, a female parent and their pups from the last few years. Usually, in the wild four to six pups are born together in a litter. Domestic wolf dogs with high-wolf content can have upward to 12 or more puppies in a litter.The pups in a litter are called litter mates. Their first home is usually a den, which can be a small cave or a hole dug in the ground. It must be big enough to shelter the mother and pups from weather and protect the pups from other animals that may want to hurt them. Packs sometimes use the same den for several years, or they may find a new den each and every year.
Wolf cubs grow inside their mother for about 63 days before they are born. At birth, the pups weigh only one pound, and their eyes are closed. They grow quickly. About 10 to 14 days after they are born, they open their eyes. By two weeks of age, the cubs can waddle, and about a week after that, they may come out of the den for the first time. At first, they live only on milk from their mother. By three weeks of age, they start eating meat. Since pups are too young to hunt, adult wolves bring meat to them in their stomachs. This ranges from small rodents to medium and very large animals. Depending on the location this can include deer, elk, moose, and bison. The pups lick around the mouth of the adult when it returns from the hunt, and the food comes back up into the adult's mouth. This sounds terrible to us, but wolf cubs seem to love it. The pups eat the regurgitated meat within seconds. Any pup who is less aggressive than his or her brothers and sisters gets less food. If pups are too persistent in their begging for food, adult wolves may growl to warn them to stop. The adults may also leave the area in an attempt to avoid the wolf puppies.
The Common Wolf is also known as the Gray Wolf. This is the type of wolf that most people are familiar with. However, they are often mistaken for other types of wolves out there. This is because the actual appearance of them can be drastically different based upon the location they are in.
Some of the Common Wolves out there only weigh about 55 pounds. Others can be closer to 90 pounds. Researchers have come across some that were almost 200 pounds but that is very rare. They range in length from 4 ½ feet to 6 feet. The colors of them can include brown, gray, black, red, white, and a mix of various colorings and shades.
The head and the muzzle of these wolves are narrow compared to other species. They also don’t have the same mass across the shoulders. Yet they are still very powerful animals. They aren’t as fast as other animals, but they have a stamina that can’t be matched. So they may not have that initial speed but they can go the distance at a good rate.
The webbing between each toe allows the Common Wolf to be able to move easily regardless of the type of terrain they are on. They have very large feet so they are able to shift how their weight is distributed. This helps them when they are walking on snow so they don’t sink into the soft areas.
They have very sharp teeth and jaws. It is believed they have more than three times the biting power behind them than the average canine. What is very interesting is that the saliva from a Common Wolf has been proven to help new tissues grow and to reduce the risk of an infection occurring.
The Common Wolf uses a variety of vocal and non verbal forms of communication within their pack. They are very dependent upon their social group and do all they can to maintain it. They can be aggressive towards other wolf packs, often using howling to inform them not to come into their established territory.
They will heavily mark their territory with urine and scents that they make in their body. Rolling around on the ground and rubbing against trees helps them to be able to release these scents. It can be very difficult for young Common Wolves to find their own habitat out there in the wild.
The Common Wolf is able to adapt to a variety of surroundings. As long as they can find food and they have a large habitat to move around in they seem to do very well. They are known to live in regions that include mountains, plains, deserts, grasslands, and even some urban locations. They are found throughout Northern America.
Most experts believe that the Common Wolf helps to bring order and balance to the ecosystems that they are a part of. They are very opportunistic when it comes to what they feed upon. This ranges from small rodents to medium and very large animals. Depending on the location this can include deer, elk, moose, and bison.
What is interesting is that they usually won’t attack prey that stands still. Yet they can surround it for hours or days at a time. Should the animal run, that is when the Common Wolves will chase it and try to take it down.
Like other wolf pups, these will be fed regurgitated meat by members of the pack. That allows them to get the nutrition they need after they are done feeding from the body of their mothers. When they are ready to go on the hunt at about six months of age they will be learning how to survive.
The pups are allowed to fight for food when it is time to take part in such eating. Many experts believe this fight to get to consume food is part of how their order in the pack will be determined.
There is a long mating season for the Common Wolf. It can last from January through April. It seems that the higher elevation that they live in the later in the year that they will mate. The male alpha leader of the pack will mate with the beta female. However, he may also mate with other females in the pack. This is different that other species of wolves where he will only mate with the beta.
Once mating is successful it will be just over two months before the litter of pups arrives. They are deaf and blind at birth with each of them weighing one pound at the most. Generally each litter will have from 4 to 6 pups. However, it is possible for her to have many more than that. She will give birth to her young inside of a den.
There she will remain with them on and off for the first three months of life. She will leave only to get food for herself. This is necessary for her to continue making milk for the young to survive on. When they do come out of the den with her they will be cared for by the entire wolf pack.
The young wolves will continue to be a part of it until they are fully mature. About two years of age most of them will leave the pack to go start one of their own. Their drive to mate is often what triggers them to do so. If they remain in their Common Wolf pack of origin they may never have the opportunity to do so.
The Common Wolf does have problems with humans when it comes to predators. There are lots of farmers and ranchers out there that don’t care for them. Other people see them as a menace or as a very dangerous type of animal. Therefore they don’t really care if they end up being killed or not.
The Common Wolf is believed to have the best chance of survival in regards to all the other species of wolves. Many of them are endangered but the numbers of these are high enough that it isn’t a huge concern at this point in time that they may not have a future.
No other wolf in the world can offer the same coloring as the Arctic Wolf. It is very unique due to the location where it is found. While some species of wolves do have some white coloring, this one is almost completely white. They do offer some aspects of yellow, gray, and black in places though.
The overall size of them will depend on where they happen to live in their region. Some of them only weight about 100 pounds. Others though can weigh up to 175. Some of them are about 3 feet in length when they are fully grown. Others are twice that long though at about 6 feet.
Due to the extreme cold where the Arctic Wolf lives, they have two thick layers of fur. The outer layer actually gets thicker as the winter months come along. They first layer helps to form a waterproof barrier for the skin. As a result their body temperature can stay warm enough even when it is bitter cold.
These wolves also have smaller ears than other species. That is part of them staying warm as well. They also help them to regular their overall body temperature. Since the ground is permanently frozen they have padded paws that are designed to offer them a good grip when they walk.
Some people believe that the Artic Wolf is a loner by nature but that isn’t true. Those that are seen alone may be away from their pack to search for food. They can also be on their own looking to make their own pack. The size of these groups can be from just a couple of wolves to about twenty. Generally the size of the pack will depend on how much food happens to be available to them.
These wolves happen to be very territorial. However, most of them do have hundreds of miles that they can cover within their home range. As a result of this they don’t really mind so much when other packs have a territory that overlaps. They do heavily mark their territory though with urine and their own scent.
Alaska is where the majority of the wild Arctic Wolves live. They are able to walk on the frozen ground due to the way their feet are designed. That allows them to shift their weight around and to keep a good grip. Not only can they stand the very cold temperatures, they don’t seem to mind the part of the year when it is dark for both day and night.
Both Greenland and Canada have Arctic Wolves that are found in various locations as well. However, the numbers of them in these areas are drastically low. They have moved or they have perished due to a lack of food and habitat for them to survive. Around Alaska the natural habitat for these wolves has been untouchable due to the land being too cold for people to thrive in.
Due to the location of the Arctic Wolf, they are very limited when it comes to the supply of food they can consume. Generally they will eat caribou and muskoxen. Since these animals are much larger than they are, it is a group effort to successfully take one down. Even though they are great hunters, their prey can often get away before they can attack from all sides.
When they do make contact though they will be successful. Arctic Wolves have very sharp teeth as well as powerful jaws. They are able to rip into the flesh and crunch the bones of the animals they capture. They can eat more than 20 pounds of meat at a time. They often know that it may be a while before their next meal so they will consume all that they possibly can when it is readily available to them.
Due to the freezing cold, a large animal that they kill may offer enough food for the entire wolf pack for several days. When that is the case they will take turns feeding and also protecting the kill from other animals. There are other times though when they must go for weeks without much food at all. It may also be necessary for them to move according to the movements of their prey. Otherwise the risk of not finding a meal soon enough becomes reality.
For the young pups that are outside of the mother’s den but aren’t old enough to hunt yet, they still need meat. In order to get it, the other members of the pack will offer them regurgitated meat that they have partially consumed.
As is the case with most species of wolves, only the alpha male and the beta female will be allowed to mate. That is often the reason why younger wolves about two years of age head out on their own. The urge to mate is very common and it will encourage them to make their own pack where they can mate.
The pups are born a couple of months after mating. About a month after mating the female will start to find a place where she can give birth. Often she will spend a great deal of time digging in the layers of ice to make a den. Sometimes it will prove to be too difficult though. Then she will have to find a den that is already in place, rocks, or even a cave where she can give birth.
It is very important that she has safe place for the young to be born. She can have up to twelve of them at once to care for. They are about one pound when they are born. They can’t hear or see so they rely upon instinct and smell to survive in her care for the first couple of months of life.
She will need to leave them from time to time so she can go get food for herself. This can leave the young pups very vulnerable at that time. When they are approximately three months old they will join the rest of the pack with her. The entire pack will do what they can to help ensure these young are able to survive.
Due to the isolated areas where the Arctic Wolf lives, they don’t have too many problems with predators. Sometimes the young can be eaten by other animals if they wonder out of the den on their own or they venture too far away from the pack. Occasionally battles with other packs can occur due to problems arising. This often involves a fight for territory, food, or mating rights.
The name of the Red Wolf stems from the fact that they can have a reddish coat on them. It is often a cinnamon shade of red. However, not all of them have this coloring as many of them are brownish. This is why they are often mistaken for other types of wolves as many people assume they all have red coloring to them.
Another distinct feature is that they have white around the muzzle area. They also have very large ears. This particular type of wolf also has a larger head than other species.
In the past the Red Wolves have been known to live around Texas and Florida. Today though there are very few of them remaining in those regions. Thanks to reintroduction projects by professionals they are now also living in South Carolina and North Carolina. They do seem to be doing quite well in those areas but it is going to take time to see how they do in the long term scheme of things.
The Red Wolf is very social by nature so they will form packs that have several levels of hierarchy within it. These packs can be as small as only two members but most of them have about twelve members. They are very territorial as well so they will heavily mark their area with their scent to keep other wolf packs from invading their space.
It is believed that the Red Wolf is often a lone hunter. They generally don’t have the collaborated efforts of several pack members involved with a kill. As a result they tend to stick with smaller types of prey. Some that they survive on include mice, rates, rabbits, raccoons, and muskrats. When they do work as a team though they are able to successfully take down deer and have been known to attack cattle as well in certain areas.
The Red Wolf is considered to be mature between 22 and 24 months of age. Typically it is only the lead male and female of a pack that will reproduce. This activity takes place in February and March. The young cubs are born a couple of months later. A mother can have a single pup or as many as ten.
The Red Wolf seems to be much more protective of her offspring than other wolves. The young are born in a den but instead of later emerging with them publicly she will continue to move them around to other dens for several months. This helps to prevent the scent from becoming too strong and attracting other wolf packs that may also be predators of the young.
Before they are a couple of years old they will often leave the pack they were born into. Females have an easier time being accepted into another pack out there. The males often have to find their own territory and look for a single female that they can start a pack with.
The Red Wolf is currently listed as critically endangered so there are plenty of efforts in place to try to save them. Today there are many habitat locations that have been declared safety zones for them. However, the fact that they have killed cattle and some pets means that not everyone around these areas are happy with them.
The reddish or light brown coloring of the Indian Wolf is part of the reason that many believe it to be a fox when they catch a glimpse of it in the wild. They are very small wolves with an adult weighing between 40 and 60 pounds. They also have a coat that is shorter and less dense than other species of wolves. Since they live in a warm region though it is very fitting of their needs for survival.
These wolves are found on the open lands of India and they are able to survive in areas that are considered to be desert like in nature. Some of the locations in India where they have been known to roam include Pradesh and Gujarat.
While the Indian Wolf is able to howl just like other species, it rarely does. This is puzzling to experts. However, it is believed that they don’t feel as territorial about their range as other species. Therefore they don’t use the howl to warn others that they have already staked a claim in a given location.
For the Indian Wolf a diet that is composed of small animals is what they survive on. This includes rodents, rabbits, and raccoons. The pack will be very loosely around a given area and each of them will hunt for their own food. This hunting usually takes place at night and ends at dusk.
The mating process often takes place in October which is very different from other species of wolves. It is believed the timing of the rains which bring out additional food sources for these wolves is partial responsible for that timing. Generally it is only the lead male and lead female of a pack that will reproduce.
The young are born about two months later in a den. The mother will have several dens in a given area and move her young around often. They come out when they are about three months of age. The entire pack will help to care for them. While they mother goes to hunt for food others will care for them. It won’t be long before they are joining her on hunting for their own food.
It is believed that only about 3,000 Indian Wolves remain in the wild today. This particular breed of wolf also doesn’t seem to thrive in captivity. In fact, there is only one known location at this time where they are kept. This is the Jai Samand Sanctuary in Rajasthan.
There are stories in India about this particular wolf stealing small children. However, experts don’t believe this is true. Instead they believe such stories have been passed along from generation to generation as a way to get children to stay close to the villages. It is also believed some children may have been taken by other animals, but that the Indian Wolf isn’t to blame.
This particular wolf is known to kill livestock though which means it has become an enemy of people in those regions. They are also known to attack humans and experts believe this is due to their lack of food in their natural environment. Even though it is protected due to being endangered, hunting of them continues.
Due to the physical appearance of the Ethiopian Wolf it is often mistaken for either a fox or a jackal. They are a medium sized wolf with very long legs and a muzzle that is more pointed and elongated than other species. They can have a variety of colors including reds, browns, and some white. The color often gets darker with age.
This particular species of wolf is only found around the areas of Africa, namely Ethiopia which is where their namesake comes from. Sadly, there are only about seven locations in the area that are believed to still be home to them. Most of them reside in the mountain terrain but they have also been identified on the plains. They also feature ears that are very pointed. They also have a tail that is shorter and thicker at the end than other types of wolves.
The aggressive nature of these wolves is less than of others. While they are still territorial it isn’t to the extreme of other types when it comes to getting along with other wolf packs. The fact that there are fewer of them and the packs are more spread out could have a great deal to do with that fact.
However, they are more dependent socially upon their pack than other types of wolves. They seem to thrive on the social interactions that take place within a pack. They have groups that usually have about six adults and then a group of pups which varies with every litter.
Rodents make up the largest part of the diet for the Ethiopian Wolf. While they do live in packs, they don’t hunt together. Therefore they stick to animals they should be able to capture on their own.
The rivalry among the packs can increase when it is time to mate. It is estimated that more than half of all successful conceptions are from a male outside of the pack. This is very different than in other species of wolves. The females will give birth to a litter of up to six young at a time.
What is unique is that the males born into a pack of Ethiopian Wolves will remain with it for the rest of its life. It is the females that leave when they are about two years old so that they can find another to mate in. They are generally accepted into another pack for breeding purposes. This is one of the few species of wolves where other pairs besides the alpha and the beta are allowed to mate.
The Ethiopian Wolf is in dire need of protection with about 550 adult wolves remaining. However, it is very hard to accurately count them due to their movements so this is an educated guess based upon careful research. While they are protected by law, it is very hard to enforce those laws in Ethiopia.
Due to the number of individuals there that now possess guns, the killing of Ethiopian Wolves for food is easier than before. Some villagers take part in it because they have no other way to feed their families.
In 1990 there was a serious outbreak of rabies among the Ethiopian Wolves along Bale Mountain National Park. This scared many people and it is believed that over 400 wolves died from it or were killed due to being positive for it. The efforts of the Born Free Foundation stepped in to help by offering free rabies vaccinations for others so that the problem wouldn’t continue. This helped to reduce the number of cases reported since then drastically.
The Eastern Wolf is a distinct species even though many people mistake it for a subspecies of the Gray Wolf or the Red Wolf. Science has been able to prove that it is closely related to them but not at that level. This is a small to medium sized wolf with a light brown or reddish coat. They are very close in appearance to the well loved Husky dogs of Alaska as well.
They also have some longer hairs found in the coat that are usually black in color. As an Eastern Wolf gets older they will develop more of these long black hairs. They are often mistaken for coyotes due to their coloring and their build.
Most of them are found throughout Canada as well as in the United States around Mississippi. Today many of them live on a refugee in North Carolina. This is the result of a reintroduction plan that has been very successful so far with this type of wolf as well as several others.
The most common location of Canada where you will find the Eastern Wolf is around the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. They do have very large home ranges that they follow. It is believed that many packs of Eastern Wolves follow the migration of the White Tail Deer as a way to make sure they have plenty to eat, especially in the winter months.
These wolves are very dependent upon the social aspects of their pack. They are quite loyal to each other and will do all they can to keep other packs of wolves out of their territory. This is why you will often hear them howling frequently out there in the wild. They are most active at night but they can also be seen out during the day.
The Eastern Wolf is able to consume a diverse type of diet. Sometimes they will hunt on their own but most of the time they will hunt with their pack. Some of the items they hunt alone include rodents, beaver, and muskrat. Those that they hunt with their pack include deer and moose. In some instances they have even been able to successfully kill a Black Bear.
While the young are fed regurgitated food like with other types of wolves, the pack doesn’t leave some adults behind to protect them. Instead the pups are placed into a dent or other location to keep them safe until the rest of the pack returns. Should the young venture out on their own for adventure there is a very good chance they will be killed by other animals.
The alpha and the beta will mate in February, with the young being born about two months later. The female will retreat into a den and not come out until her pups are a couple of months old. She can have from 4 to 8 pups per litter.
The Eastern Wolf has been known to mate with different types of coyotes in their areas. This is a concern because it can definitely affect the overall genetics of this particular species of wolf. This type of behavior is very interesting due to the fact that most species of wolves will aggressively run off coyotes.
Most of the conservation efforts for them is done by the Coalition to Restore the Eastern Wolf, commonly referred to as CREW. Their goal is to ultimately increase the number of Eastern Wolves residing in the United States.
There have been quite a few problems in Canada due to the Eastern Wolf getting into livestock areas and killing them. As a way of retaliating many farmers and ranchers have started to hunt them even though it is illegal. Others are believed to be intentionally laying poison where these wolves will find it.
The Himalayan Wolf is a subspecies of the Gray Wolf. This is a fairly new species to have been identified. Thanks to genetic testing we now know it is very different from the closely related Indian Wolf. They are light tan in color and have gray to them as well. Many of them have white or black around the face and along the chest.
This particular species of wolf is found in some specific areas of India. They include Jammu, Kashmir, Nepal, and the Himalayas. They have been identified in both China and Mongolia. When they were originally named it was believed that they only lived in the Himalayas. It wasn’t until much later when packs of them were found to live in these other regions as well.
Due to the smaller number of Himalayan Wolves, they tend to have smaller packs. They may only have six or eight members. They have a decent size of territory that they cover, it can be several hundred miles long. They don’t seem to be as aggressive when it comes to protecting such territory though.
In fact, there are many packs of Himalayan Wolves that also have Indian Wolves overlapping them. Yet the two don’t seem to be bothered very much by the other. While some confrontations do exist, it is generally only going to take some howling and growling to get one part to be on its way. Rarely do these species of wolves have a physical level of confrontation.
The diet for these wolves is mainly small and medium sizes animals. Rodents and rabbits make up the majority of what they will consume. Sometimes they will take down the young of larger sized prey because they do need to take advantage of every opportunity out there to feed that they can. They are skilled hunters and know it can be hard to find their next meal.
These wolves are considered to be mature about two years of age. That is why many of them leave the pack when they are about 1 ½ years of age. They want to be able to establish a territory and to find a mate before the breeding season. Generally the females will have four or six pups. She will take very good care of them in a den for the first couple of months. Then they will join the rest of the pack.
Due to the fact that the Himalayan Wolves live so close to the Indian Wolves, many experts anticipated that they would engage in some cross breeding. However, to date there is no evidence to suggest that this has actually occurred. Perhaps some evidence of that will be found in the future.
Today there are less than 350 Himalayan Wolves left in the wild. There are also 21 of them that live in zoos around India. With such a low population it is very hard to increase their numbers. Yet many that have a passion for them aren’t willing to give up on them. Instead they continue to do all they can to ensure these animals have a place to live and access to food.
This is a very difficult task though and one that needs a great deal of support in order to be successful. Part of the success of helping them to survive involves breeding programs that take place in captivity around India. These young pups are being raised to help increase the numbers. The goal is to one day be able to release many of them back into the wild.
There are plenty of farmers and ranchers in these areas that are happy to see the low numbers of the Himalayan Wolves. They continue to see their animals being taken as food by them. There seems to be no love lost at all when it comes to these wolves and humans.
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