Wolf Facts

Wolf Facts
Wolf is the largest member of the canine (dog) family. This large carnivore lives in North America, Eurasia and North Africa. There are two species of wolves: grey wolf and red wolf. Grey wolf includes 38 different subspecies. Red wolf is smaller, has long legs and shorter fur than the grey wolf. Habitat loss and killing led red wolves to the edge of extinction. No more than 100 red wolves remained in the wild.
Interesting Wolf Facts:
Wolves range in the size greatly. Larger wolves, weighing up to 175 pounds, live in Canada, Alaska, and Russia. Smaller species of wolves, weighing up to 30 pounds, live in the Middle East.
Color of the wolf's fur can be white, black and grey.
Wolves live in family oriented social structure called packs. They are composed of alpha male and female and their offspring. Packs can have more than 10 animals.
Wolves are ultimate predators that do not have natural enemies. They are meat eaters who hunt goats, sheep, deer, moose and other larger and smaller prey.
Territory designated for hunting can be 600 square miles large. They travel 30 to 125 miles daily to find the food.
Wolves can eat 20 pounds of meat per meal which is equivalent to a man eating 100 hamburgers at once.
Since the wolves' diet is composed of meat and bones, they have very strong jaws with 42 sharp teeth, designed for stabbing, crashing and shearing.
Wolves have excellent eyesight. They are not able to distinguish colors, but their eyes are extremely sensitive to the movement. They can sense smell 100 times better than humans and easily locate animals that are 1.6 miles away. They also have excellent sense of hearing, which is used to detect sound that is 6 miles away in the forest, or 10 miles away in the open space.
Vocalization is important characteristics of the pack. Each wolf howls just 5 seconds, but it may sound longer when the group of wolves howls together. Vocalization is used for the communication within the pack, to alert other packs when they are crossing territorial boundaries or to eliminate unwanted lonely wolves.
Wolves also communicate using the wide range of facial expressions, scent marks, body postures… All these signals are important for keeping the pack united.
Although pack of wolves has many sexually mature animals, only leaders of the pack (alpha male and female) can mate. This method prevents rapid rise in the number of young animals and uncontrolled expansion of the pack that may lead to starvation.
Mating takes place during February and March. Pregnancy lasts 63 days and female gives birth of 4 to 7 pups. Mortality rate in the wolf pack is high, 50% of babies can die due to different causes.
All members of the pack take care of the young. When the hunters return to the pack, they often regurgitate (vomit) swallowed food to feed the young animals.
Wolves reach sexual maturity between second and third year of their life.
Average lifespan of the wolf is up to 13 years in the wild and up to 16 years in the captivity.

Related Links:
Animal Facts
Animals Facts