Facts About Gray Wolves
What Do Wolves Eat
Can Wolves And Dogs Interbreed?
Are Wolves Endangered?
The Wolf Pack
Wolf Fur Clothing
Can You Keep A Wolf As A Pet?
Can You Train A Wolf?
67 Facts About The Wolf
Some grey wolf facts
Gray wolves are slim, have a powerful physique with a large, deep-set chest and a sloping back. The belly of a gray wolf is retracted, the neck is muscular. Their limbs are long and robust, with relatively small legs. On each front paw, there are five fingers, on the back – four. Females, as a rule, have a narrow snout and forehead, thin neck, female paws are slightly shorter than those of males, and less massive shoulders. Wolves are powerful for their size; they have enough strength to turn a horse or frozen moose carcasses.
In general, gray wolves are the largest of the animals in the Canidae family, not counting some the larger breeds of domestic dogs.
Gray Wolf Size
The length of the adult gray wolf is 105 cm to 160 cm, the vertical height of the animal from the shoulder is 80-85 cm. The weight of the wolf varies in different geographic areas; On average, a European wolf can weigh 38.7 kg, a North American wolf – 36 kg, and an Indian and Arab wolf – 25 kg. Females of the wolf, as a rule, weigh 5-10 kilograms less than the males. Wolves weighing more than 54 kilograms are rare, but extremely large breeds have been sighted in Canada, Alaska and in the former USSR.
How Fast Can Gray Wolves Run?
Gray wolves can run at a speed of 56-64 km/h and can run without stopping for more than 20 minutes, although not necessarily at the same rate. In coldder climates, wolves can reduce blood flow to maintain body heat. The heat of the lower parts of the paws is maintained separately of the rest of the body and kept at a level just above where the paws are in contact with snow and ice. The head of a gray wolf is large and heavy. Ears are relatively small and triangular. As a rule, in physical form, they resemble German shepherds and huskies.
In winter, gray wolves have a very dense and fluffy coat, with a short undercoat and long protective hairs. Most of the undercoat falls out in the spring and grows back in the fall. Winter wool is very resistant to cold; wolves in northern countries can safely be in open areas at -40 °, placing the muzzle between their hind legs and covering it with the tail. Wolf’s hair provides better insulation than the dog’s coat; ice can’t accumulate on it.
The Wolf Pack
When you come to understand how a pack of wolves work internally, the idea that man is the only animal capable of living in a perfectly defined social structure becomes somewhat pretentious. If we get rid of the connotations of “dangerous group” that carries the word “pack”, we can see that, in reality, the pack is a group of individuals united in favor of the protection of each other. Each wolf accepts his individual position in the pack, in the same way that members of a family do.
Structure and leadership in the pack
A pack of wolves usually consists of the following elements: 1) an alpha or dominant pair, 2) a beta pair, which in addition to occupying the second place in importance, will most likely be the substitutes of the alpha pair, 3) middle-range individuals; and 4) lower-range individuals, also called omega. The alpha pair leads the entire group, while the beta pair is in charge of the mid-range wolves. The other adults are responsible for directing the other members of the pack in the middle and lower ranks. Both ends of the pack hierarchy, except in cases of injury by accident or death, tend to remain unchanged; instead,intermediate grades are subject to frequent changes in social equilibrium. While they do not reach the age of their sexual maturity, wolf pups remain outside this complex hierarchical system. The females play the role of subaltern with respect to the males of the same hierarchy.
As it fits a leader, the dominant wolf demonstrates a pose and attitude corresponding to its status – erect body, head and tail raised, erect ears. The alpha animal also demands important privileges – such as the right to devour prey before the other members of the pack. The rest of the wolves, less dominant, will have a submissive attitude towards the alpha animal: lick the leader’s muzzle, shrink their bodies and place their heads, tails and ears lower than the upper limbs. The existence of the omega wolf, on the other hand, is much harder. Their role is to act as a “social mediator”, offering an easy prey in the violent moments of game, and calming other superior individuals in hierarchy in moments of conflict. The omega wolf often plays the role of “black sheep”, being treated by the rest of the pack with little regard. Omega wolves are usually the last ones in order to eat.
The myth of the lone wolf
Conflicts often arise between the different ranks, and it can happen that sometimes a wolf is expelled from the pack and lives according to its own rules, becoming what is usually called “a lone wolf.” However, as the saying goes, “in the union is strength”, although wolves can hunt alone (and sometimes do), hunting is much more successful when carried out as a team, and the pack is directed by a single intelligence with the aim of knocking down its prey. The pack is also essential to give meaning to the existence of animals. As with the family, a pack of wolves are a social unit, and it is the lack of that feeling of belonging to a group and the corresponding social support, which the lone wolf is forced to endure. That is, his lonely life does not have the charm with which we usually imagine it. It is a hard and lonely existence, in constant struggle for survival.
The image of wolves hunting in a pack can evoke feelings of fear and anxiety. However, it is precisely this act of collaboration – a work in conjunction with self-preservation as an objective – the complexity of their social relationships, and the use of body language to transmit the rules of the pack, which makes us stop and reflect on of the magnitude of intelligence and depth of emotions in these animals.
What do Wolves Eat?
- Wolves mainly feed on ungulates (sometimes 10-15 times larger than themselves). They hunt marmots, hares, badgers, foxes, ferrets, gophers, mice, hamsters, voles and other rodents, as well as insectivores.
- Wolves can also eat carrion readily, especially during a nutritional deficiency. They often eat waterfowl, lizards, snakes, frogs, toads and rarely large insects.
- During the harsh winter, packs often attack weak or wounded wolves; they may even eat the bodies of dead members of the pack.
As we said above, wolves eat almost everything. Of course, they have their own preferences, such as large ungulates. Unlike bears or big cats, wolves do not have big claws that can quickly kill a victim. Read more information what do wolves eat.
The body language of wolves consists of various expressions of the muzzle, the position of the tail. An aggressive or defensive wolf is characterized by slow and deliberate movements, high posture and raised hair, calm wolves have a neutral stance, smooth hair lowered ears and tail. With the help of howling, wolves gather a flock (as a rule, before and after a hunt), transmit information, find each other during a storm or in unfamiliar territory, and communicate, overcoming long distances.
Can Wolves and Dogs Interbreed?
Although dogs and wolves are genetically very close, they, as a rule, do not naturally voluntarily interbreed under natural conditions. But they can produce viable offspring, and all subsequent generations will also be able to reproduce.
Are Wolves and Endangered?
Once the gray wolf was the most common mammal in the world, living north of 15 ° N.N. in North America and 12 ° n. in Eurasia. Wolves, as a rule, face difficulties in adapting to humans and the changes that humans make, and therefore they are often called indicator species. Wolves do not seem to be able to adapt as quickly to the expansion of civilization as the coyotes, for example, did. Even though gray wolves are not endangered, in some places, the wolf population is still endangered. Read our blog post on: The Future of wolves.
Wolves can also suffer from rabies. But, as a rule, if the wolf has the first symptoms of the disease, it leaves its flock, thus preventing the spread of the disease.
Wolf Livestock Kills
The killing of livestock by wolves was one of the main reasons they were hunted, and this can be a severe problem for the preservation of the wolf population.
Wolves, as a rule, are not dangerous to humans, as long as they are few, they have enough food, they rarely meet with people and sometimes hunt. Cases of wolf attacks on humans are rare, but at the beginning of the 20th century, such attacks occurred frequently.
Hunting For Wolves
As you know, wolves are hard to hunt because of their elusiveness, keen senses and the ability to quickly kill hunting dogs. Greyhounds, hounds and fox terriers are usually used when hunting for wolves. Greyhounds pursue and block wolves until the arrival of larger dogs that do most of the fighting.
Wolf Fur Clothing
The skins of wolves are mainly used for scarves and finishing women’s clothing, although they are also sometimes used in short coats, coats, and carpets.
Hunting wolves for their fur has little effect on the size of their population since only the northern species of wolves (the number of which is stable) have commercial value. Fur wolf hunting remains a lucrative source of income for many Native Americans.
Can You Keep A Wolf As A Pet?
Keeping wolves as pets is becoming increasingly popular. In the United States alone, according to various estimates, between 80,000 and 2 million wolves live in houses.
Wolves can be less predictable and manageable than dogs. A wolf cub under the age of one year is usually not aggressive towards strangers, although their aggression increases with age, especially during the mating season. Males can be more aggressive and more challenging to manage than females.
Can You Train A Wolf?
Even when a specific behavior has been repeated several times, the wolf can become bored, and he will ignore subsequent commands. When training a wolf, simple praise is not enough. Unlike dogs, wolves tend to react more to signals given by hand than by voice.
67 Facts About Wolves
- The Vikings wore wolf skins and drank wolf-blood before the battle, which they took with them to raise their fighting spirit.
- The earliest images of wolves are found in caves in the south of Europe, and they are already more than 20,000 years old.
- It is impossible to tame a wolf and make it a guard dog, he will be afraid of strangers and will hide from them instead of barking.
- The autoimmune disease “lupus,” or skin tuberculosis, literally means “red wolf,” because, in the eighteenth century, doctors believed that the disease developed after a wolf bite.
- Wolves are able distinguish about 200 million shades of smell; people are only 5 million.
- Wolves can smell the smell of other animals at a distance of 1.5 kilometers.
- In the wild, wolves can breed from the age of two. Females may produce once a year. Usually, mating occurs at the end of winter.
- A wolf’s pregnancy lasts 62-75 days; the young are typically born in the summer.
- The average litter consists of 5-6 cubs.
- Wolf pups are born blind and deaf and covered with short, soft grayish-brown fur. At birth, they weigh 300-500 grams. During the first month, they eat mother’s milk.
- After three weeks, the cubs leave the lair for the first time.
- At 1.5 months of age, wolf pups are already able to escape from danger. They begin to eat solid food at the age of 3-4 weeks.
- During the first four months of life, wolf cubs mature very quickly: during this time the weight of the cub can increase almost 30 times.
- Wolves are very territorial animals. They protect their territory from other packs by marking the area with their smell, direct attacks and howling.
- Biologists have determined that wolves will react to people imitating wolf howls.
- The wolf howl lasts no more than 5 seconds, just because of the echo it seems that the sound is longer.
- A single wolf may howl to attract partners or merely because they are alone.
- he eyes of wolf puppies are always blue at birth. They turn yellow by only eight months.
- The wolf’s gestation period is about 65 days.
- Wolf puppies are born deaf and blind and weigh just half a kilo.
- Wolves were once the most common terrestrial predators, the only places they did not live in were deserts and tropical forests.
- Wolf teeth create huge pressure in the cleft palate, about 300 kilograms per square centimeter (compared with 150 kg/cm in a dog).
- The population of the North American gray wolf in the 1600th year was 2 million. Today there are no more than 65 thousand left in North America.
- Between 1883 and 1918, more than 80,000 wolves were killed in the US state of Montana alone.
- A hungry wolf can eat 10 kilograms of meat in one sitting; it is as if a person ate a hundred hamburgers in one sitting.
- A wolf pack may consist of two or three individuals, or maybe ten times more.
- Wolves are descended from ancient animals called Mesocyon, which lived about 35 million years ago. It was a small animal, like a dog, with short legs and a long body. Perhaps they, like wolves, lived in packs.
- The Dire wolves (“canis dirus”) are one of the representatives of prehistoric wolves who lived in North America about two million years ago. They hunted mainly for prey as big as mammoths.
- Wolves can swim to a distance of 13 kilometers, helping themselves when moving in water with small membranes between their paws.
- Adolf Hitler (whose name means “lead wolf”) was fascinated by wolves and sometimes required to call himself “Mr. Wolf” or “conductor Wolf” as a pseudonym.
- Wolf’s Gorge (Wolfsschlucht), Wolf’s Lair (Wolfschanze) and Werewolf (Wehrwolf) were codenamed by Hitler for various military headquarters.
- In the 1600s, Ireland was called “Wolf Land”, because at that time there were so many wolves. Wolf hunting was the most popular sport among the nobles who used wolfhounds to locate a wolf and kill it.
- In 1927, a French policeman was convicted of shooting a boy, whom he considered to be a werewolf. In the same year in France, the last wild wolf was killed.
- When Europeans sailed to North America, the wolf became among them the most popular prey in animal hunting throughout American history. These animals were on the verge of extinction at the beginning of the 20th century. Federally, the US government even adopted a program to eliminate wolves in the western states in 1915.
- Wolves can run for a minute or two at a speed of 32 km/h and top speeds of up to 56 km/h. During the day they run “at a trot” (about 8 km/h) and can travel at that speed throughout the day.
- The smallest species wolves live in the Middle East, where they reach a mass of no more than 30 kilograms.
- The largest wolf species live in Canada, Alaska, and Russia, where they gain a mass of up to 80 kilograms.
- Wolves with the help of a howl are associated with disunited members of their group to rally before the hunt, or to warn rivals of other packs to keep away from them.
- Under certain weather conditions, wolves can hear sounds at a distance of 9 kilometers in the forest, and 16 km. in the open area.
- The reflective layer in the eyes of the wolf is called “tapetum lucidum” (from Latin means “bright tapestry”), it glows in the dark, and also contributes to the night vision of the animal.
- Where wolves live, crows are often found (sometimes called “wolf-birds”). The crows follow after the packs of wolves to get the leftovers from the hunt and also use the wolves as protection.
- According to the testimony of Pliny the Elder, a Greek scholar of the first century believed that wolf manure could be used to treat stomach colic and cataracts.
- The Aztecs used the wolf liver to treat melancholia as an ingredient for medication. Also, they stabbed the dying man’s chest with a pointed wolf bone in an attempt to delay the date of death.
- In the Middle Ages, Europeans used wolf liver-based powders to relieve pain during childbirth.
- The Greeks believed that if someone ate the meat of a wolf that kills lambs, he is at high risk of becoming a vampire.
- The Cherokee Indians did not hunt the wolves, because they believed that the brothers of the dead would take revenge on them. Also, the weapon with which the wolf was killed was considered “spoiled”.
- The British King Edgard introduced a special annual tax of 300 hides for Wales, and as a result, the Welsh wolf population was quickly destroyed.
- In 1500, the last wild wolf was killed in England, in 1700 in Ireland, and in 1772 on Danish soil.
- Germany became the first country that in 1934 placed a population of wolves under environmental laws. Under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche (born 1844-um.1900) and Oswald Spengler (born 1880-um.1936), society became convinced that natural predators matter much more than their value after a murder. By the way, in Germany, all wild wolves were exterminated by the middle of the nineteenth century.
- Unlike other animals, wolves have many distinctive facial movements that they use to communicate and maintain relationships in the pack.
- In Japanese, the word wolf is characterized as “the great god.”
- From 6000 to 7000 wolf skins are still sold annually in the world. They are supplied mainly from Russia, Mongolia, and China, and are most often used for sewing coats.
- In India, simple traps are still used to catch wolves. These traps are pits disguised with branches and leaves. Wolves fall into a hole on sharp stakes, and people finish them off with stones.
- Wolves were the first animals that came under protection in the list of the law on the threat of extinction in 1973.
- The famous poem by John Milton “Lycidas” got its name from the name of the Greek wolf cub Lykideus.
- In the world of Harry Potter was a werewolf Remus Lupine, whose name is directly connected with the Latin word “lupus”, but the name most likely originated from Rem, the founder of Rome, who was fed by wolves.
- The last wolf in Yellowstone National Park was killed in 1926. In 1995, people managed to resume a population of wolves, and after a decade, about 136 wolves roam in the park, huddled together in 13 packs.
- Currently, there are about 50 thousand wolves in Canada and Alaska, 6500 in the United States. On the European continent, in Italy – less than 300, in Spain about 2000, in Norway and Sweden – less than 80. There are about 700 wolves in Poland, and 70 thousand in Russia.
- Wolves never miss a chance to eat. Often, living in the most severe corners of the planet, wolves usually eat their wounded or sick relatives. Trapped wolves should be picked up as soon as possible because there is a high risk that other wolves will find it and eat it.
- Some wolves can reach a weight of 100 kg. The size of wolves grows exponentially according to the degree of remoteness from the equator. Tropical wolves are often the same size as ordinary dogs, but wolves of the far north, on average, weigh more than 60 kg.
- In 2008, researchers at Stanford University found that mutations associated with the appearance of black fur are found only in dogs, so black wolves are nothing but descendants of hybrids. Most often such wolves are located in North America.
- In areas where wolves were subject to mass extermination, coyotes flourished. Recent studies have shown that 22% of all coyotes in North America are descendants of wolves. Such animals are usually larger than ordinary coyotes, but smaller than wolves, and are also known to be extremely cunning.
- Although wolves are not the primary carriers of rabies, they can quickly pick it up from raccoons and foxes. Unlike other animals that, when infected, become lethargic and become disoriented, wolves instantly become enraged. Most cases of attacks on people provoked by rabies. And the desire of wolves to bite the neck or head often leads to the fact that the rabies virus enters the human brain much earlier before medical care.
- American wolves are less likely to attack humans than their other brethren. Historical records indicate more than 3,000 people killed by wolves in France between 1580 and 1830. Wolves of India and Russia keep up with them. In the USA and Canada, on the contrary, there is an extremely small number of officially confirmed attacks of wolves.
- Despite their close kinship, wolves perceive dogs mainly as prey. In Russia, at one time, stray dogs served as the staple food for wolves.
- The plague that devastated Europe in the Middle Ages caused tensions between humans and wolves. In those days, the corpses were destroyed much faster by wolves, and not by fire or burial underground. Such methods of “burial” instilled the taste of human blood to whole generations of wolves. It was probably from that time that wolves included human meat in their “menu”.
- Smallpox brought to America by European settlers had a catastrophic effect on local residents. Its victims were 80-90% of all people inhabiting the continent. Feeling easy prey, the wolves attacked Native Indian villages, devouring the bodies of the helpless sick.