Adaptions of the Gray Wolf


A wolf's feet are made to travel. They have four toes on their back feet and five on the front feet. Their claws provide traction along with their fleshy pads, give them the ability to grab on slippery surfaces. Their feet also can extend allowing them to move through deep snow. They can also run nearly 40 miles per hour. The wolf's sense of smell is 100 times better than a human's. Their hearing is also 20 times better than the than humans with the best hearing. A wolf's sight is great during the night, but they can't see color as well as humans. Their vision is developed to pick up on motion so they are very sensitive to movement. The gray wolf's fur is thick, which provides insulation against the cold. This coat is oily and is waterproof.


Wolves live, travel, and hunt in packs of 7 to 8 animals on average. Packs include the mother and father wolves, their pups and older offspring. The alpha female and male are usually the pack leaders that track and hunt prey, pick out den sites and establish the pack's territory. Each pack guards its territory against trespassers and may even kill other wolves that aren't part of the pack. Wolves are nocturnal and will hunt for food at night and sleep during the day. Wolfs howl as a way of communication. Even though they don't actually howl at the moon, they are more active at dawn and dusk, and they do howl more when it's brighter at night, which occurs more often when the moon is full. The act of growling and/or baring their teeth indicates hostility. Whimpering and whining are associated with pain or fear. Holding up the tail is a sign of dominance. To put it down or between their legs is a sign of fear and respect.


A wolf's canine teeth can tear through flesh and thick hide, and their back teeth can crush bones. Gray wolves mostly travel and hunt at night, especially during warm weather or in an area with a large human population. They usually hunt large herbivores, for example deer, elk, moose, bison, caribou, and oxen. They will also eat hares, beavers, birds, and fish when available. A large amount of the animals that wolves kill are young, old, or in poor condition. Sometimes, fights over food can lead to the wolves having to fight enemies. This includes some large cats as well as other canines. And when the food source is low, the alpha might eat weak or injured wolfs.