Facts About The Arctic Wolf

Introduction to the Arctic Wolf Species

The Arctic wolf, also called white wolf or polar wolf, is characterized by having a unique hair color, which we can not see in any other type of wolf. This animal can be considered as a race, subspecies or geographical variant of the gray wolf (Canis Lupus), a species that originally lived throughout the northern hemisphere.

The Arctic wolf lives in places where the cold is extreme, and because of this it has two thick layers of skin that protect it from low temperatures. The outer layer of skin becomes thicker when winter time approaches. This layer helps to form a waterproof barrier on the skin, helping them maintain body temperature even when it is quite cold.

Geographical distribution

Alaska is where most of the wild Arctic wolves live. They can walk on frozen ground due to the way their paws are designed, allowing the arctic wolf to change its weight and maintain a good grip. Not only do they withstand low temperatures, but also do not seem to care about the time of year they are in or if it is day or night.

They are distributed throughout North America, reaching the north of Greenland and maintaining large numbers through the Canadian Arctic archipelago. It lives in cold terrains and with hostile temperatures of up to -30 degrees Celsius. Its thick and abundant coat works as insulation from wind and snow. They have a shorter length than gray wolves, as do shorter legs, muzzle and ears; this helps them retain body heat.

What Do Arctic Wolves Eat?

The location of arctic wolves is limited when it comes to food supply. They usually feed on caribou and musk oxen. As these animals are much larger than the wolves, they will hunt them in groups. Wolves are great hunters and their prey when they are attacking them from all places can not flee.

The arctic wolf has very sharp teeth and very powerful jaws. They can tear flesh and crunch the bones of the animals they catch. They can eat more than 9 kg of meat at a time. They often know that they can spend a lot of time for the next meal, so they will consume everything they can when the opportunity presents itself.

For puppies that are not big enough to hunt but need meat to get strong, the other members of the pack will offer them the regurgitated meat they have partially consumed. Read more on what wolves eat.

Arctic Wolf Reproduction

They are monogamous animals that only change partners when one of them dies. Matings are carried out generally in the month of March and at the end of May, females have their puppies after a period of 53 to 61 days of gestation. The litters can contain up to five of them.

The mother and all the members of the pack are very protective of the newborns and care for them with dedication. When she can not dig dens in the snow, she carries her little ones to cavities she finds on the road to protect them from predators. If they do not suffer any alteration, the dens are used year after year. To keep them nourished, they regurgitate the food they previously ingested and at one month of age, the young begin to have contact with the meat.


The arctic wolf lives in isolated areas, and this means they do not have problems with predators. Sometimes young wolves can be consumed by other animals, because when they are hunting away from the pack, they can become victims. Occasionally battles may occur between the packs by territory, by food, or by mating.

Life expectancy is not many years; It is seven in its natural state and 10 years in captivity. Although they do not have many predators, bears and other wolves are the cause of some battles.

Undoubtedly the human occupies the number one place in predation to the Arctic wolf. The invasion of its habitat and climate change are its greatest threats. Illegal hunting has not been much of a problem for them due to the remoteness they have with human communities, so it could be said that it is the subspecies of wolf that has less risk of extinction.


Some believe that the arctic wolf is solitary by nature, but it is not true. Those who see themselves in nature far from the herds are because they are looking for food or looking to make their own herd. The size of these groups can be from two to twenty wolves, generally, the size of a pack of arctic wolves will depend on the amount of food they have available.

Arctic wolves turn out to be very territorial. However, most of these animals need hundreds of kilometers that they cover within their habitat, this has resulted in different groups overlapping, this case the wolves of both groups mark their territories with urine and with the odors that come from their bodies.