Wolf

Print
Category: Animal Info Pages


grey wolf

The term wolf can refer either to the Grey Wolf, or the Red Wolf.  The Grey is the larger of the species, with males weighing between 95-100 lbs, and females around 80-85 lbs.  The Red is smaller, with a weight around 60 lbs. for males and 50 lbs. for females.  The current range of the Red Wolf is primarily in the South-eastern United States up to PA, while the Grey Wolf is currently in Canada and some locations in the Northwest of the United States. The Grey Wolf is also the main wolf species to be found throughout Eurasia. While the Grey is distinct in its size and shape, many people think that the Red is a cross-breed of a Grey and a coyote. In reality genetic tests show that the Red Wolf is unique and is probably a evolutionary step between the Grey and the coyote.  Red Wolves are more frequently known to breed with coyotes though.  Both species can be bred to make hybrids with dogs.

 

While Grey Wolves have been forced out of some of their historical ranges in Europe and North America, they still can be found in vast territories in both. The Red Wolf on the other hand was nearly hunted to extinction here in the United States. There has been some breeding programs to reintroduce them to historical ranges.  Both species can survive anywhere, which is easily seen in the range of the wolves, but the Red is limited due to the human population in its range.   Wolves only make dens for the birth of their pups in the spring, and after raising them, wolves and their offspring prefer to travel and bed down in different location daily.

 

Wolves are the most studied species, due to interaction with humans for thousands of years.  They have a complex visual expression to show both fear and aggression.  They are well known for their vocalizations or howling. They use the howl to assemble the pack for a hunt or after a kill. They also howl to sound an alarm by the den, or to locate each other in storms.  The pack is the main group of wolves. It will be made up of a family unit of an Alpha male and female mated pair and all their offspring. Sometimes 2 to 3 families form a larger pack up to 40 wolves.  So if you are out in the woods and meet up with a wolf, you can be sure that there are more than one that you can not see, but can see you.


 

Wolves go where the game is, and will feed on anything from small animals, up to the size of moose. They are also known to sometimes hunt livestock, which brings them into conflict with humans, although they are not known to hunt humans for food.  They are excellent hunters, with a well developed sense of smell to track their prey, as well as sight and hearing.  This also makes them hard to hunt as well, but the use of poisons and traps were effective to eradicate them in large parts of their historical ranges.