Wolf Song of Alaska


Wolf Factoids

(1) The wolf (Canis lupus ) Order: Carnivore, Family: Canidae

(2) The wolf is the largest in the wild canine family

(3) The coyote evolved separately from the wolf over 500,000 years ago

(4) The wolf has 42 teeth

(5) The wolf has rounded ears

(6) The wolf has a broad heavy muzzle

(7) The wolf has extremely powerful jaws capable of generating 1,500 psi pressure

(8) The wolf has one of the widest ranges of size, shape and color of any mammal in North America

(9) The wolf lives in a pack, family oriented social structure

10) Mating season for the wolf occurs in February and March.

11) The gestation period for the wolf is 63 days

(12) Wolf pups are born in April and May

(13) The average litter size for the wolf is 4 to 7 pups

(14) Litter size for the wolf depends on nutrition factors as well as fitness of the female

(15) Mortality rates for wolf pups can be as high as 50%

(16) Wolves have a vast communication repertoire including scent marks, vocalizations, visual displays, facial and body postures and rituals

(17) Wolves communicate with each other more by harmony and integration rather than by aggression and submission

(18) Wolves are territorial and defend their territory through vocalizations and scent marking 

(19) If necessary, wolves will attack other wolf intruders to protect their territory

(20) There are two species of the wolf in North America, the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus ) and the Red Wolf (Canis rufus )

(21) In North America there are 10 recognized sub-species of the wolf

(22) The main threat to wolf populations is loss of habitat

(23) Predation is not violence, it is the act of obtaining food for survival

(24) The wolf is an ultimate predator at the top of the food chain

(25) The wolf is designed for running, catching and killing large animals

(26) The wolf is opportunistic and will attempt to catch the easiest and most vulnerable animal

(27) The wolf can kill healthy animals but naturally seeks out the sick, the weak, crippled, old and young animals

(28) The wolf primarily travels at a 5 mile per hour trot

(29) In chases, the wolf can achieve estimated speeds of between 28 and 40 miles per hour for up to 20 minutes

(30) Radio tracking wolves has been used in wildlife research since 1963

(31) Wolves are vulnerable to skull injury from kicking prey

(32) The canine teeth "interlock" so the wolf can grip and hang on to struggling prey

(33) The back teeth, or carnassial molars, are designed to crush bones and shear meat

(34) The wolf uses facial display in ritual aggression, dominance, submission or fear

(35) The wolf has 2 types of hair, "Guards and "Undercoat"

(36) The hair of the wolf is shed in the spring and summer and sheds out in sheets unlike most dogs

(37) The color of a wolf's pelt can be anywhere from white to black

(38) The wolf uses its hair to communicate anger, dominance and aggression

(39) The wolf's sense of smell is more than 100 times greater than a human

(40) A wolf 'scent rolls' to promote interaction with other pack members

(41) Dominance in a wolf pack is not necessarily established by brawn or direct attack

(42) A wolf 'scent marks' its home range. This serves as messages, and provides warnings

(43) The hierarchy in a wolf pack neutralizes aggression, reduces conflict and promotes social order

(44) There are two hierarchies in a wolf pack, one for females and one for males

(45) Change of rank in a wolf pack is more frequent in lower rank positions

(46) Wolf pups, while low in hierarchy, have many privileges and social freedom

(47) 'Ethology' is the study of animal behavior as a scientific counterpart to human psychology

(48) The "Alpha" wolf is the highest ranking individual within the dominance hierarchy

(49) "You just can't let nature run wild" by Alaska Governor Walter J. Hickel

(50) The "beta" wolf is the second ranking individual within the dominance hierarchy

(51) The "omega" wolf is the lowest ranking individual within the dominance hierarchy 

(52) In the winter, the wolf's tail helps keep the face warm 

(53) Wolves breed only once a year; most dogs breed twice 

(54) In addition to the wolf (Canis lupus ), the genus Canis also contains the domestic dog, the coyote, the golden jackal, the black backed jackal, the side-striped jackal and the dingo 

(55) Three (3) geographic races of the red wolf have been recognized; the Florida Red Wolf, The Mississippi Red Wolf and the Texas Red Wolf 

(56) Wolves are often confused with Indian dogs, huskies, malemutes and German Shepherd Dogs 

(57) Arctic tundra, taiga, plains or steppes, savannahs, hardwood, softwood and mixed forest were all originally inhabited by the wolf

(58) Adult male wolves average ninety-five to one hundred pounds and females about fifteen pounds less

(59) Wolves howl to greet one another, to indicate their location, to define their territorial boundaries, and to call the pack together 

(60) Wolves can trot at five to ten miles per hour almost indefinitely

(61) A wolf may spend as much as a third of its time on the move  

(62) The wolf is generally a docile animal with a strong aversion to fighting

(63) Submissive behavior plays a big role in maintaining peace within the pack

(64) A wolf's front feet are larger than their back feet 

(65) Packs hunt in territories of up to 600 square miles 

(66) A pack's home range will sometimes overlap the territory of another pack 

(67) In addition to howling, wolves bark, yap, whine, and growl 

(68) Litters of up to 14 pups are born in April through June 

(69) Pups emerge from the den at about one month of age

(70) All members of a wolf pack take part in caring for the young 

(71) When pack members return from the hunt and they are nipped on the snout by the pups, the hunters regurgitate undigested meat for them 

(72) Wolves are considered to be competitors with people for game animals such as moose and caribou 

(73) Although wolves are feared throughout much of the world, documented attacks on people are extremely rare 

(74) Attempts to keep wolves as pets are not usually successful 

(75) Wolves use direct scenting, chance encounter, and tracking to locate prey 

(76) In scenting an animal, wolves must usually be downwind of the prey 

(77) Wolves are active at all times of the day in winter 

(78) Where waterways are plentiful, wolves often travel on the windswept and hardpacked ice in winter 

(79) Wolves actually have a low hunting success rate 

(80) To catch enough food, wolves must hunt often and test many animals before finding one that they can catch and kill 

(81) Most packs contain less than eight members

(82) Wolves bear an average of six young per litter(82) Wolves become sexually mature at approximately twenty-two months 

(83) Strong bonds are needed to hold a pack together; if there were no bonds, each wolf would go its separate way 

(84) Most packs include a pair of breeding adults, pups, and extra adults that may also breed 

(85) Ambushing is used by both single wolves and by packs

(86) Wolves at one time had an extensive range, occurring throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Japan 

(87) The only substantial population of wolves left at present in the contiguous 48 states inhabits northern Minnesota

(88) The range of the red wolf once extended from eastern Texas to Georgia and Florida and northward through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Illinois

(89) The basic unit of wolf society is the pack

(90) The wolf's front teeth are sharp and pointed and adapted to puncturing, slashing, and clinging

(91) The wolf's pointed premolars and molars are useful for tearing and shearing once the prey has been killed

(92) The wolf's massive rear molars aid in cracking and crushing bones

(93) The wolf does little chewing

(94) A wolf can consume almost twenty pounds of prey at a feeding

(95) Wolves can maintain a chase for at least twenty minutes

(96) The wolf feeds almost exclusively on flesh, bones, and other animal matter

(97) Lone wolves have no social territory and rarely scent-mark or howl

(98) The range size for a given pack of wolves depends on many environmental factors, particularly prey density

(99) It is common for wolves to be moving eight to ten hours in a day

(100) A pack may cover distances from 30-125 miles in a day

(101) Wolves possess upwards of two hundred million olfactory cells

(102) A wolf's tail hangs while the tail of the dog tends to be held high and is often curly

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