HOWL Colorado

102 factoids about wolves

HOWLColorado : Wolf FactsWolf Song of Alaska published this list of factoids on their website.

  1. The wolf (Canis lupus ) Order: Carnivore, Family: Canidae
  2. The wolf is the largest in the wild canine family
  3. The coyote evolved separately from the wolf over 500,000 years ago
  4. The wolf has 42 teeth
  5. The wolf has rounded ears
  6. The wolf has a broad heavy muzzle
  7. The wolf has extremely powerful jaws capable of generating 1,500 psi pressure
  8. The wolf has one of the widest ranges of size, shape and color of any mammal in North America
  9. The wolf lives in a pack, family oriented social structure
  10. Mating season for the wolf occurs in February and March.
  11. The gestation period for the wolf is 63 days
  12. Wolf pups are born in April and May
  13. The average litter size for the wolf is 4 to 7 pups
  14. Litter size for the wolf depends on nutrition factors as well as fitness of the female
  15. Mortality rates for wolf pups can be as high as 50%
  16. Wolves have a vast communication repertoire including scent marks, vocalizations, visual displays, facial and body postures and rituals
  17. Wolves communicate with each other more by harmony and integration rather than by aggression and submission
  18. Wolves are territorial and defend their territory through vocalizations and scent marking
  19. If necessary, wolves will attack other wolf intruders to protect their territory
  20. There are two species of the wolf in North America, the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus ) and the Red Wolf (Canis rufus )
  21. In North America there are 10 recognized sub-species of the wolf
  22. The main threat to wolf populations is loss of habitat
  23. Predation is not violence, it is the act of obtaining food for survival
  24. The wolf is an ultimate predator at the top of the food chain
  25. The wolf is designed for running, catching and killing large animals
  26. The wolf is opportunistic and will attempt to catch the easiest and most vulnerable animal
  27. The wolf can kill healthy animals but naturally seeks out the sick, the weak, crippled, old and young animals
  28. The wolf primarily travels at a 5 mile per hour trot
  29. In chases, the wolf can achieve estimated speeds of between 28 and 40 miles per hour for up to 20 minutes
  30. Radio tracking wolves has been used in wildlife research since 1963
  31. Wolves are vulnerable to skull injury from kicking prey
  32. The canine teeth “interlock” so the wolf can grip and hang on to struggling prey
  33. The back teeth, or carnassial molars, are designed to crush bones and shear meat
  34. The wolf uses facial display in ritual aggression, dominance, submission or fear
  35. The wolf has 2 types of hair, “Guards and “Undercoat”
  36. The hair of the wolf is shed in the spring and summer and sheds out in sheets unlike most dogs
  37. The color of a wolf’s pelt can be anywhere from white to black
  38. The wolf uses its hair to communicate anger, dominance and aggression
  39. The wolf’s sense of smell is more than 100 times greater than a human
  40. A wolf ‘scent rolls’ to promote interaction with other pack members
  41. Dominance in a wolf pack is not necessarily established by brawn or direct attack
  42. A wolf ‘scent marks’ its home range. This serves as messages, and provides warnings
  43. The hierarchy in a wolf pack neutralizes aggression, reduces conflict and promotes social order
  44. There are two hierarchies in a wolf pack, one for females and one for males
  45. Change of rank in a wolf pack is more frequent in lower rank positions
  46. Wolf pups, while low in hierarchy, have many privileges and social freedom
  47. ‘Ethology’ is the study of animal behavior as a scientific counterpart to human psychology
  48.  The “Alpha” wolf is the highest ranking individual within the dominance hierarchy
  49. The “beta” wolf is the second ranking individual within the dominance hierarchy
  50. The “omega” wolf is the lowest ranking individual within the dominance hierarchy
  51. In the winter, the wolf’s tail helps keep the face warm
  52. Wolves breed only once a year; most dogs breed twice
  53. In addition to the wolf (Canis lupus ), the genus Canis also contains the domestic dog, the coyote, the golden jackal, the black backed jackal, the side-striped jackal and the dingo
  54. Three (3) geographic races of the red wolf have been recognized; the Florida Red Wolf, The Mississippi Red Wolf and the Texas Red Wolf
  55. Wolves are often confused with Indian dogs, huskies, malemutes and German Shepherd Dogs
  56. Arctic tundra, taiga, plains or steppes, savannahs, hardwood, softwood and mixed forest were all originally inhabited by the wolf
  57. Adult male wolves average ninety-five to one hundred pounds and females about fifteen pounds less
  58. Wolves howl to greet one another, to indicate their location, to define their territorial boundaries, and to call the pack together
  59. Wolves can trot at five to ten miles per hour almost indefinitely
  60. A wolf may spend as much as a third of its time on the move 
  61. The wolf is generally a docile animal with a strong aversion to fighting
  62. Submissive behavior plays a big role in maintaining peace within the pack
  63. A wolf’s front feet are larger than their back feet
  64. Packs hunt in territories of up to 600 square miles
  65. A pack’s home range will sometimes overlap the territory of another pack
  66. In addition to howling, wolves bark, yap, whine, and growl
  67. Litters of up to 14 pups are born in April through June
  68. Pups emerge from the den at about one month of age
  69. All members of a wolf pack take part in caring for the young
  70. When pack members return from the hunt and they are nipped on the snout by the pups, the hunters regurgitate undigested meat for them
  71. Wolves are considered to be competitors with people for game animals such as moose and caribou
  72. Although wolves are feared throughout much of the world, documented attacks on people are extremely rare
  73. Attempts to keep wolves as pets are not usually successful
  74. Wolves use direct scenting, chance encounter, and tracking to locate prey
  75. In scenting an animal, wolves must usually be downwind of the prey
  76. Wolves are active at all times of the day in winter
  77. Where waterways are plentiful, wolves often travel on the windswept and hardpacked ice in winter
  78. Wolves actually have a low hunting success rate
  79. To catch enough food, wolves must hunt often and test many animals before finding one that they can catch and kill
  80. Most packs contain less than eight members
  81. Wolves bear an average of six young per litter
  82. Wolves become sexually mature at approximately twenty-two months
  83. Strong bonds are needed to hold a pack together; if there were no bonds, each wolf would go its separate way
  84. Most packs include a pair of breeding adults, pups, and extra adults that may also breed
  85. Ambushing is used by both single wolves and by packs
  86. Wolves at one time had an extensive range, occurring throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Japan
  87. The only substantial population of wolves left at present in the contiguous 48 states inhabits northern Minnesota
  88. The range of the red wolf once extended from eastern Texas to Georgia and Florida and northward through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Illinois
  89. The basic unit of wolf society is the pack
  90. The wolf’s front teeth are sharp and pointed and adapted to puncturing, slashing, and clinging
  91. The wolf’s pointed premolars and molars are useful for tearing and shearing once the prey has been killed
  92. The wolf’s massive rear molars aid in cracking and crushing bones
  93. The wolf does little chewing
  94. A wolf can consume almost twenty pounds of prey at a feeding
  95. Wolves can maintain a chase for at least twenty minutes
  96. The wolf feeds almost exclusively on flesh, bones, and other animal matter
  97. Lone wolves have no social territory and rarely scent-mark or howl
  98. The range size for a given pack of wolves depends on many environmental factors, particularly prey density
  99. It is common for wolves to be moving eight to ten hours in a day
  100. A pack may cover distances from 30-125 miles in a day
  101. Wolves possess upwards of two hundred million olfactory cells
  102. A wolf’s tail hangs while the tail of the dog tends to be held high and is often curly

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