Wolf animal<<<< Back to wild animals
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Canidae
- Genus: Canis
- Conservation status: Least concern
- Size: 80 - 85 cm (31 - 34in)
- Weight: 50 kg (22 lbs)
- Food: Carnivore (deer, elk, moose, bison, bighorn sheep, caribou, musk oxen, etc)
- Speed: 50 - 70 km/h (30 - 40 mph)
- Habitat: tundra, woodlands, forests, grasslands and deserts
- Predators: bears will killwolf pups
- Sexual Maturity: 1 - 3 years
- Gestation Period: 62 – 75 days
- Lifespan: 13 - 18 years
- Litter size: 5 - 6 pups
- Distinctive Feature: Great senses (smell and eyes) Thick, warm fur and loud howling noise.
The wolf belongs to the Canidae family, alongside the dog, fox, jackal and the raccoon. His scientific name is Canis lupus. Although not the largest or most powerful carnivore, the wolf self-imposed since ancient times.
It was the symbol of Dacians and other ancient nations, even the Romans had it as a sign of their begginings (the legend of the she-wolf that fed Romulus and Remus).
The diet and dentition are typical for a carnivore. Although when necessary it can be omnivorous, being able to survive with fruit or other vegetables, consuming even tree bark, wolves still prefer meat. It acts like a hunter and also like a scavanger too, an important factor in maintaining natural balance.
Where wolves were removed there has been a collapse of the ecological balance, this made it necessary to reintroduce them in many countries where it was eliminated. The wolf eats almost any creature: from frogs and larvae, rabbits and other small animals to wild boar, deers, donkeys, oxen and even bears.
It is a robust animal with a long body of 1.5 m, plus a tail of about 0.8 m. Its weight varies between 30 and 50 kg, in some cases exceeding 70 kg. The coat is brown-gray with multiple variations. It consists of two rows of bristles: a thick one, woolly, on the skin, of a yellowish-gray color, and a second one, longer, spiked, with a black tip.
Moulting usually in autumn, we can say that the wolf has a darker "coat" in the summer and a lighter one in winter. The cushioned toes have non-retractable claws, so the wolf will leave traces when moving on soft earth or snow.
- The tundra wolf (Canis lupus albus)
- The Arabian wolf (Canis lupus Arabs)
- The Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos)
- The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus Bailey)
- The gray wolf (Canis lupus communis)
- Caspian Sea Wolf (Canis lupus cubanensis)
- Italian Wolf (Canis lupus italicus)
- African Wolf (Canis lupus lupaster)
- The Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus)
- The eastern wolf (Canis lupus Lycaon)
- The Great Plains wolf (Canis lupus nubilus)
- The northwestern wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis)
- The Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes)
Their performances are impressive. In search of food they can travel up to 100 km in one night. Wolf running speed can exceed 60 km/h. Its senses are extraordinary. Not just the smell is particularly fine, but also the hearing and sight. The wolf can easily hunt at night time , his favorite time for hunting, but also during the day, morning or twilight. It has a high resistance to pain and a great courage in battle. Besides his physical performance , it has a special intelligence also.While hunting it uses different tactics, flanking the prey from the sides or gradual leading it into closed areas. Often it sees and avoids the traps laid for it. Lapps say that "The bear has one man's mind power and the strenght of seven, and the wolf the strength of one and the mind power of seven". It needs a very large territory, about 2,500 hectares, ten times more than the bear.
Romanians have old traditions regarding the wolf, viewed with fear but also with admiration. In some areas Dacian traditions are still preserved. Those who care for wolves are under the protection of St. Andrew and even at old age, when the body is full of scars from strong bites, no case is known when they were torn or eaten by these animals. These people were one of two sources of the legends about the wolf-men or lycanthropes.
Mating takes place in February-March, after which the male will stay with the female to raise the pups together. After that, the males, including pups, will gather in packs, which especially in long winters, will merge. After a gestation of 62-64 days, the female will give birth to 4-6 blind pups, nursed for about 6 weeks.
Did you know that:
The wolf is the largest wild animal belonging to the Canidae family?
As known predators, wolves depend on their prey: deer, moose, caribou and in other parts even bisons that weigh 450kg. Their paws have twice more power than a domestic dogs.
Some wolves leave the pack, voluntarily or compelled, and become lone wolves.
The wolf never killed a man for nothing, when dogs kill annually over 1000 people. Despite this, the dog is considered man's friend and the wolf his nemesis!
In a pack, only the alpha male is capable of procreation and only one female will be left pregnant.
Wolf's sight is well adapted to nocturnal hunting. Their peripheral sight and the ability to detect subtle movements is one of the wolf's assets.