Researchers are discovering more about wolves every year. Direct observation of these complex and intelligent animals in places like the high arctic and Yellowstone, advances in genetics, and sophisticated tracking devices have unlocked many secrets. Full articles and scientific papers have been written about each of the following questions.
Have you seen dogs jump up to greet their owners, bark at strangers or roll over when another dog approaches? Then you already know something about how wolves communicate. Dogs inherited most of their language from their ancestors, the wolves.
It is distinguished from other Canis species by its larger size and less pointed features, particularly on the ears and muzzle. Its winter fur is long and bushy and predominantly a mottled gray in color, although nearly pure white, red and brown to black also occur. Mammal Species of the World 3rd ed.
Wild wolf packs are a lot like many human families. A female and male wolf meet and establish a pack. Most wolves in the pack are related to each other, so pups are siblings and live with Mom and Dad, and even aunts and uncles. When pups become yearlings, they help Mom and Dad hunt, protect their established territories and care for newborn puppies.
However, because of human-related activity such as destruction of habitat and excessive hunting, Grey Wolves now only occupy a fraction of their former range. The Grey Wolf is listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act as they continue to be hunted in many areas of the world as a perceived threat to livestock, humans and also for sport. As extremely adaptable animals, Grey Wolves generally live in mountains, temperate forests and grasslands.
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Wolves develop from pups at an incredible rate. Pups are born, in late April, after just a two-month pregnancy. They are born deaf, blind, and weigh no more than a can of soda pop.
Though humans nearly hunted wolves to extinction in the lower 48 states, northern gray wolves have returned to the Great Lakes, northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Wolves play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy. They help keep deer and elk populations in check, which can benefit many other plant and animal species.