Gray Wolf

Canis lupis

The Gray Wolf

The Gray Wolf is a simple but vicious animal when scared, he or she can get really protective, and aggressive making sure that its pack is safe


Domain-Eukarya-This domain contains organisms whose cells have a nucleus. They can be single-celled or multicellular.

kingdom-Animilia- All are multicellular, heterotrophs, and have the ability to move at some point in life.

Phylum-Chordata-Members have bilateral symmetry, a notochord (Rod that extends for the length of the body), and a complete digestive system.

Subphylum-Vertebrata-Every animal has a backbone, an endoskeleton, and their movements are provided by muscles

Class-Mammalia-produce milk with mammary glands, have hair, and inner ear bones.

Order-Carnivora-have specialized teeth for cutting meat. They generally are medium-sized animals, with males typically being larger than females.

Family-Canidae-Mostly medium-sized flesh eaters, more omnivorous than many carnivores, taking as food invertebrates, plant matter, and carrion as well as the prey they kill themselves. They are adapted more for endurance than for speed, and they catch prey by pursuit over long distances in relatively open terrain until the prey tires.

Genus-Canis-dogs, jackals, and wolves

Species-Lupis-Gray Wolf

General Description

Length-The total body length, from tip of the nose to tip of the tail, is from 1000 to 1300 mm in males, and 870 to 1170 mm in females. Tail length ranges between 350 to 520 mm.

Range length-34.25 to 51.18 in

Weight-Males can weigh from 30 to 80 kg, with an average of 55 kg, females can weigh from 23 to 55 kg, with an average of 45 kg.Range mass 23.0 to 80 kg 50.66 to 176.21 lb

Height-Height (measured from base of paws to shoulder) generally ranges from 60 to 90 cm.

Color-Fur color of gray wolves is different because of where their habitat is, from pure white in Arctic populations, to mixtures of white with gray, brown, cinnamon, and black


Tundra has low, shrubby or mat-like vegetation found at really high elevations, near the limit of plant growth. Dirt usually is in a stage of permafrost. Plant diversity is typically low.

Taiga or boreal forest, this biome occurs at high elevations. Long, cold winters and short, wet summers.

Chapperal found in coastal areas , with a Mediterranean climate. Vegetation is dominated by stands of dense, spiny shrubs with tough (hard or waxy) evergreen leaves.

Forest biomes have lots of trees trees

Scrub Forest develop in areas that have dry seasons.

mountains includes, tall mountains, either without plants and trees or covered by low, tundra-like plants.

Diet-They hunt prey on their own, in packs, steal the prey of other predators, or scavenge carrion. Animals included in the diet of gray wolves varies where they are hunting and on prey availability. Wolves mostly hunt in packs for large prey like moose, elk, bison, musk oxen, and reindeer. Smaller prey such as beavers, rabbits, and other small mammals are usually hunted by lone wolves. Wolves may also eat livestock and garbage when it is available.

Predators-Few animals hunt gray wolves. Wolves and coyotes are really territorial animals so wolves from other packs and coyotes will attack other wolves that are alone or young. They will kill pups if they find them.

Known Predators

coyotes (Canis latrans)

gray wolves (Canis lupus)

Physical Adaptations

1) Speed-The gray wolf gets its speed from the long muscular legs it has but it only runs at an average speed of 22-24 miles per hour the most it can run is 28 per hour. It is better for running long distances.

2) Scent-There is a sent gland used for recognition on the upper side of their tale near its base. once they get the scent if they stumble across it then they know its one of their pack members

3) Fur- Fur color of gray wolves varies when they live in different places, ranging from pure white in Arctic populations, to mixtures of white with gray, brown, cinnamon, and black

4) Swimming- Gray wolves are good swimmers and even follow there pray into the water sometimes to catch it if they are desperate enough

Behavioral Adaptations

1) Howling- Wolves communicate by howling, a wolf’s howl is a celebration: wolves. Wolves howl for many reasons. They howl when they wake up from a long sleep and to rally the pack before a hunt. The howl can be a song of the feast, announcing and defending a kill, Wolves also howl to keep in touch when separated. Howling creates a barrier to warn other wolves from outside their pack, outlining boundaries, signaling location, pack size, and strength. No two wolves hit the same note: they immediately change pitch until its different to make the pack sound larger and stronger

2) Rank- Rank is communicated among wolves by body language and facial expressions, like crouching, chin touching, and rolling over to show their stomach. The alphas both are the highest in the pack so they get to eat first then the kids of the alphas go and it goes on and on with the last to eat the worst parts of the kill.

3) Scent Marking- Scent marking is ordinarily only done by the alpha male, and is used for communication with other packs. Like STAY AWAY, THIS IS MY PACKS TERRITORY, or GET OUT OR WE WILL HURT YOU.

4) Hunting- Gray wolves are carnivores aka meat eaters. Animals included in the diet of gray wolves varies on where they are located during hunting, and on prey availability. Wolves mostly hunt in packs for large prey such as moose, elk, bison, musk oxen, and reindeer. Wolves control prey populations by hunting the weak, old, and baby's who cant get away. Wolves usually use the entire carcass, including some hair and bones. Smaller prey such as beavers, rabbits, and other small mammals are usually hunted by lone wolves, and they are a substantial part of their diet.

5) Eating- A wolf can eat one fifth of its body weight then go a considerable amount of time without eating. They do this to save food if the food is scarce and they have a hard time hunting.


Burton, M., & Burton, R. (2002). GRAY WOLF. In International wildlife encyclopedia (3rd ed., Vol. 8, pp. 1054-1057). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

Dewey, T., & Smith, J. (n.d.). Canis lupus Gray Wolf. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from Animal diversity wed website:

Gray wolf. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2015, from Wikipedia website:

wolf. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from