- Genus/Species: Canis lupus
- Conservation Status: Endangered
- Location: North America and Eurasia
The Largest Member of the Dog Family
Wolves are the largest members of the dog family. They occupy a range of habitats including Arctic tundra, prairies and forests. They live and hunt in packs of around six to ten animals. Wolves are known to roam large distances, perhaps 12 miles in a single day. You may feel a little scared when you hear a wolf howl- but it doesn’t howl to frighten you. Howling is a wolf’s way of communicating. A lone wolf howls to attract the attention of his pack, while a pack will howl together to send a message to another pack
Wolves weigh between 80 and 100 lbs and are very similar in general appearance and size to the German shepherd, which is a very popular pet. The color of wolves vary from pure white, the most common color in the far north of North America, through mottled gray to brown or black. However, grizzled gray is the most common color. Wolves prey on large animals such as deer, elk, and moose, as well as smaller mammals, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and fruit. Wolves are also scavengers and often eat animals that have died due to other causes like starvation and disease.
Wolves once had the largest natural distribution of any mammal except humans. However, they can no longer claim this record as they have driven out from much of their former lands. They have also been hunted relentlessly and so their numbers are going down. You can help the wolf by joining organizations like the Defenders Of Wildlife. You can also send messages from Wildlife Action Centres to the government leaders on protecting the grey wolf.
Did You Know?
- After a successful kill a wolf may eat 20 pounds of meat at one go because it never knows when it will get a good meal again.
- Adult gray wolves have 42 teeth, compared to 32 teeth for adult humans
- In 1926, the last wolf was killed in Yellowstone National Park. A wolf reintroduction program was implemented in 1995. The program is considered to be a great success – the wolves are reproducing at a rapid rate, and there are currently around 100 wolves in the park.
- Many Native American and Inuit tribes revere the wolf as a brother and fellow hunter. They have great respect for the wolf and will never speak badly about it.