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wolf info

Wolf (Grey)

Wolves develop close relationships and strong social bonds. They often demonstrate deep affection for their family and may even sacrifice themselves to protect the family unit.


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Facts about wolves

  • Wolves are the largest members of the dog family.
  • The grey wolf is known as the timber wolf in North America and the white wolf in the Arctic or generally as the common wolf.
  • Wolves are legendary because of their spine-tingling howl, which they use to communicate. 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. Calls may be answered by rival packs. Much like barking domestic dogs, wolves may simply begin howling because a nearby wolf has already begun.
  • There are many subspecies of wolf including the Arctic wolf, all of which use a variety of howls to communicate to one another.
  • They have a highly organised social structure enabling it to enjoy maximum cooperation when hunting, communicating and defending territory.
  • Wolves live and hunt in packs. They are known to roam large distances, perhaps 20 km in a single day. Wolf packs in the far north often travel hundreds of km each year and this is due to them following migrating herds.
  • Wolves are highly territorial animals, and generally establish territories far larger than they require to survive; in order to assure a steady supply of prey. Territory size depends largely on the amount of prey available: in areas with an abundance of prey, the territories of resident wolf packs are smaller.
  • These social animals cooperate on their preferred prey. A single wolf is capable of catching and killing a deer unaided but when hunting as a pack it preys on much larger animals such as deer, elk, and moose. Wolves also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and fruit.
  • When they are successful, wolves do not eat in moderation. A single animal can consume 9 kg of meat at a sitting. The highest ranking wolf will eat first and what cannot be consumed is left for the scavengers, even although the wolf may have to wait another three days for its next meal.
  • Wolves are not particularly fast, with a top speed of about 45km/h. They instead rely on its hearing and sense of smell to detect prey. They have remarkable powers of endurance and are known to follow their target all day and night if necessary.
  • Once a wolf has found a mate, they usually stay together for life.
  • Wolf packs are established according to a strict hierarchy, with a dominant alpha male at the top and alpha female not far behind. Usually this male and female are the only animals of the pack to breed. Packs consist of between five and ten animals – usually offspring from several years. All of a pack's adults help to care for young pups by bringing them food and watching them while others hunt.
  • The hierarchy that exists within each pack is maintained by dominant or submissive body posturing, and by other behaviour patterns such as the communal care of the young.
  • Wolves feed their young by carrying chewed-up food in their stomachs and throwing up, or "regurgitating", the food for the pups when they come back to the den.
  • Wolves have only one breeding season per year - in the winter. They have their puppies in late April or early May. They have their puppies in an underground hole, or den. There are usually four to six puppies in a litter. The puppies grow up fast and are their adult size by the end of their first winter. They are grown up by the time they are two years old.
  • Wolves develop close relationships and strong social bonds. They often demonstrate deep affection for their family and may even sacrifice themselves to protect the family unit.
  • A wolf which has been driven from the pack or has left of its own accord is called a lone wolf. It avoids contact with packs and rarely howls.
  • The grey wolf has been the notorious villain of fables and fairy stories for centuries, yet this highly intelligent and sociable animal has done little to warrant its terrifying reputation.
  • Once widespread throughout North America, Europe and the Far East, the grey wolf is, sadly, now only found in large numbers in specific parts of the USSR, North America and Eastern Europe.
  • The grey wolf has always been feared by man and has probably been persecuted more than any other animal. Did you know that centuries ago, wolves were ‘tried’ by people and burnt at the stake? However its intelligence and flexibility have saved it from extinction.
  • Another reason for its decline has been the dramatic reduction of its natural prey. This has largely been replaced by farm stock which is protected by the use of poison, traps and even guns. The final fate of the wolf depends on whether man can allow the animal to coexist alongside him.

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Quick facts

Quick Facts

  • Type: Mammal
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Life span: 6 to 8 years
  • Size: Head and body 91 to 160 cm, Tail 33 to 51 cm
  • Weight: 18 to 79 kg
  • Habitat: plains, forests, tundra
  • Range: northern United States, Canada, and Alaska, with some scattered populations left in Europe and some reintroduced populations in the American southwest and, notably, in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Scientific name: Canis lupus

more facts about wolfs


Facts about Wolves, Gray Wolf, Arctic Wolf, Red Wolf.
Wolf Information, Anatomy, Feeding, Reproduction, Habitat and Wolf Conservation

Introduction to Wolves

Wolves are a class of the canine family, and they seem to do very well in the right environment. In fact, they are the largest of all canines with exception of some dog species. They are meat eaters and can range in size considerably depending on where they live. Some of them are only about 55 pounds full grown while others can be up to 200 pounds. They can range in size from 40 to 65 inches in length. Such a measurement is from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail.

They have long gotten a bad reputation out there in the wild. They are very intelligent animals that live in groups that are known as packs. They have thick fur to help them survive in a variety of climates. They are found to live in many places throughout the Northern Hemisphere. However, the amount of roaming space that they have continues to get smaller all the time.

Wolves live in small groups that are called packs. They can have from 6 to 20 members in them at a time. They have a very large range that they cover from 33 to 6,200 km2. They hunt as a group which makes it possible for them to take down large prey such as moose and elk. This type of kill helps to ensure there is plenty of food to go around for the entire pack.

Other than hunting to eat, wolves are usually not aggressive. However, they will fight other animals and even other wolves in order to protect their pack. This is where the stories often come in of wolves being violent killers. Right now the biggest threat is to them and not to other animals or humans. The reduction of their habitat has created a great deal of hardship for the wolves.

Top Facts about Wolves

  • The alpha male and beta female are generally the only two in a pack of wolves that will mate.
  • The entire pack of wolves is responsible for the care of the young.

More Wolf Facts…


The average lifespan of a wolf in the wild is from 6 to 8 years. However, in captivity they can live up to 16 years. They don’t seem to have a problem adjusting to life in captivity. Most of the locations where they are kept try to keep the habitat as natural as they possibly can for them. It is illegal in many areas to sell the pelts of the wolf. However, they were once worth a great deal of money and some still circulate on the black market.It may surprise you to learn that in the United States they were almost hunted to the point of extinction. Breeding programs with the Red Wolves have allowed them to start to repopulate. At one point in the 1980’s there were wiped out in the wild, with those remaining only in captivity. Through programs to introduce them to new environments they now live in North Carolina. Approximately 100 of them are found there at this point in time.

Today may species of wolves are considered to be endangered. In some areas they have been protected in order to help reduce the risk of them becoming extinct. There have been efforts in Colorado and other states to reintroduce certain species of wolves to given locations. So far those programs have been successful. However, it may not be enough to help get these animals off the list of endangered species any time soon.

Wolves have a very complex social structure that has been carefully studied. There is a different hierarchy for both the males and the females that belong to it. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t constant fighting within a pack to get to the top of the rankings. Instead this type of social structure actually helps to keep the focus on survival for the entire pack.

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Wolf Range

Fast Facts

Type:MammalDiet:CarnivoreAverage life span in the wild:6 to 8 yearsSize: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:PackRelative:Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man

Please add a "relative" entry to your dictionary.

Wolves are legendary because of their spine-tingling howl, which they use to communicate. 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. Much like barking domestic dogs, wolves may simply begin howling because a nearby wolf has already begun.

Wolves are the largest members of the dog family. Adaptable gray wolves are by far the most common and were once found 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 this tendency.

In the lower 48 states, gray wolves were hunted to near extinction, though some populations survived and others have since been reintroduced. Few gray wolves survive in Europe, though many live in Alaska, Canada, and Asia.

Red wolves live in the southeastern United States, where they are endangered. These animals actually became extinct in the wild in 1980. Scientists established a breeding program with a small number of captive red wolves and have reintroduced the animal to North Carolina. Today, perhaps 100 red wolves survive in the wild.

The maned wolf, a distant relative of the more familiar gray and red wolves, lives in South America. Physically, this animal resembles a large, red fox more than its wolf relatives.

Wolves live and hunt in packs of around six to ten animals. They are known to roam large distances, perhaps 12 miles (20 kilometers) in a single day. These social animals cooperate on their preferred prey—large animals such as deer, elk, and moose. When they are successful, wolves do not eat in moderation. A single animal can consume 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of meat at a sitting. Wolves also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and fruit.

Wolfpacks are established according to a strict hierarchy, 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 watching them while others hunt.

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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
5 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
ungulates (hoofed animals like deer, moose, caribou, elk, bison, musk-oxen)

Main threats to survival
loss of habitat due to destruction, development and encroachment by humans; persecution by humans

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