200 Interesting Facts About Wolves

Facts About Wolves: The wolf or gray wolf is the largest wild member of the genus Canidae. This creature, which survived the Ice Age, originated in the late Pleistocene, about 300,000 years ago. Studies on DNA sequencing and genetic drift have shown that the ancestors of wolves and domestic dogs are the same, although some aspects of this are still questionable.

Several subspecies of the gray wolf have been identified, but the exact number is still under discussion. Gray wolves are usually the highest eater of their ecosystem. Tropical Wolves live in forests, deserts, hilly areas, tundra areas, grasslands and even in urban areas.

Although once inhabited by large numbers of gray wolves in Eurasia and North America, it has very few today due to the extensive destruction of its roaming area and human aggression, which has led to the extinction of wolves in many places. Nevertheless, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers the entire wolf population to still be at risk of minor extinction.

At present wolves are protected in some areas, hunted for recreation in some areas, and are also considered a threat to domestic animals. In various human cultures and myths, wolves have found a place both positively and negatively.

200 Interesting Facts About Wolves

Amazing Facts About Wolves

  • Wolves do not howl at the moon.
  • Wolves travel and hunt in packs.
  • Wolf pups are born in April or May.
  • A wolf howl can travel a few miles. 
  • Wolves are highly intelligent animals.
  • The wolf's gestation period is 63 days.
  • Wolves are rarely kept as pets by humans.
  • Male wolves are larger than female wolves.
  • Wolves usually have only one mate for life
  • The wolf is the largest of the wild canids.
  • Pups are deaf and blind when they are born.
  • A wolf can run at speeds of up to 30-35 mph.
  • A typical wolf fang is about 1-2 inches long.
  • At three weeks a wolf pup will be able to hear.
  • Genus: Canis; Family: Canidae; Order: Carnivora.
  • A mature female wolf weights only 27 and 36 kgs.
  • The average weight of a newborn pup is one pound.
  • It takes 15 days for a wolf pup to open its eyes.
  • Wolves growl and snarl when they feel threatened.
  • A wolf will sacrifice itself to protect its pack.
  • A typical male wolf weights between 27 and 45 kgs.
  • Gray wolves walk on their toes, not on their feet.
  • At four weeks the pups will venture out of the den.
  • A typical wolf litter size range from 4 to 11 pups.
  • A wolf can hear 20 times sharper than a human being. 
  • Wolves develop a strong bond with other pack members.
  • Compared to male fur, a female wolf has smoother fur.

Fun Facts About Wolves for Kids

  • Wolves stand on the average about 34" at the shoulder.
  • Wolves are nocturnal and usually sleep during the day.
  • Hunting is generally done in the evening and at night.
  • Wolves are one of the best-known animals in the world.
  • The gestation period of wolves is nine weeks (63 days.)
  • Wolves also use howling as a means of attracting mates.
  • The "omega" is the lowest-ranking wolf in the hierarchy.
  • A mature gray wolf is generally between 4 to 6½ ft long.
  • An adult wolf can consume 20 pounds of meat in a feeding.
  • Wolves not only howl but also bark, yap, whine and growl.
  • Wolves love chewing on bones and playing with each other.
  • Wolves can start howling because they heard a nearby howl.
  • Wolves have a long bushy tail which usually has black tips.
  • Gray wolves can live healthy without food for about 14 days.
  • The wolf is vulnerable to injury and death from kicking prey.
  • Every member of a pack contributes to the upkeep of the pups.
  • The "beta" wolf is the second-ranking member in the hierarchy..
  • Each wolf has its unique scent marker in their urine and feces.
  • Wolves become sexually mature at approximately 22 months of age.
  • A wolf will spend approximately one-third of its time on the move.
  • Howling is a means of communication with other wolves in the pack.
  • They are members of the Canidae family and are the largest member.
  • It is common for a wolf to travel 20 miles a day in search of food.
  • An average wolf living in the wild has a life span of 4 to 9 years.
  • The "alpha," or breeding, pair are the dominant members of the pack.
  • Gray wolves are also referred to as the common wolf and timber wolf.
  • Gray wolves have advanced hunting abilities and a fierce appearance.
  • The pointed premolars and molars are useful for tearing and shearing.

Cool Facts About Wolf

  • After hunting down prey, the alpha and its mate are the first to eat.
  • Alpha wolfs urinate at strategic places to mark its pack’s territory.
  • The wolf uses scenting, tracking and chance encounters to locate prey.
  • An Alpha wolf moves around in a pack with its head and tail held high.
  • Wolves can leap about 16 ft horizontally when running in a single bound
  • Lone wolves have no established territory and rarely howl or scent-mark.
  • The hierarchy reduces conflict and promotes social order within the pack.
  • A wolf's tail is straight and does not curl like those of many dog breeds.
  • The wolf is an apex predator, at the top of the animal world's food chain.
  • Wolves grow very dense fur during winter which they shed once spring hits.
  • Wolves are regarded as apex Predators. Only brown bears can threaten them.
  • Wolves can swim and regularly take baths in the summer to cool themselves.
  • The most enormous wolf ever killed in North America weighed more than 75kg.
  • There are two hierarchies in a wolf pack, one for males and one for females.
  • They are carnivores and eat mainly meat although Red Wolves sometimes don’t.
  • When curled up, a wolfs fur can keep their temperature to about – 40 degrees
  • A wolves sense of smell is not as strong as that of other dogs in its family.
  • Wolves are one of the animal species that witnessed and survived the ice age.
  • Alpha wolves look at other wolves directly in the eye as a sign of dominance.
  • Wolves are voracious eaters and can eat up to 20 – 30 pound of meat per meal. 
  • They are scavengers and will eat half-eaten carcasses left by another predator.
  • Dominant wolves hold their tails high; subservient wolves keep their tails down.
  • Change of rank in a wolf pack is more frequent at the lower end of the hierarchy.
  • The wolf's canine teeth interlock so that the wolf can hang on to struggling prey.
  • A wolf can quickly reach a top speed of 40 mph in a short period when chasing prey.
  • Ritualized aggression is essential to maintaining order and harmony within the pack.
  • Wolves use facial expressions to display aggression, fear, dominance and submission.

Weird Facts About Wolves

  • It takes between 6 and 8 months for a wolf pup to reach adult size and start hunting
  • A wolf pack eats the equivalent of one deer per week, or one caribou every two weeks.
  • It is common for wolves to be on the move from 8 to 10 hours in every 24-hour period.
  • While howling, wolves change pitch to achieve harmonic as well as discordant effects.
  • A wolf pack is made up of 5 to 10 wolves which contains at least two breeding adults.
  • When hunting as a pack, wolves employ various signals to communicate with each other.
  • As acute and sharp as their hunting skills are, wolf hunts are not always successful.
  • A wolf pack has a dominant male wolf (alpha) who leads the pack and owns the territory.
  • A lone wolf rarely howls and rely on its silence and intelligence when hunting for food.
  • Wolf packs are territorial and may attack other wolves that intrude into their territory.
  • The average litter size for the wolf is four to seven pups, and can be as large as 14 pups.
  • Wolf howls may be audible to the human ear up to ten miles away in good weather conditions.
  • Roman myths and folklore speak of a wolf goddess with gracious and refined fighting skills.
  • Submissive behavior by lower-ranking wolves in a pack plays a key role in maintaining peace.
  • The wolf's front teeth (incisors and canines) are used for puncturing, slashing and clinging.
  • Wolves always mate very late in winter seasons, usually between late January and early March.
  • A wolf track is very similar to that of a large dog and very difficult to see the difference.
  • A wolf pack has its social hierarchy, and wolves are ranked based on their roles in the pack.
  • Wolf pups are allowed to fight with each other in a bid to identify an alpha wolf among them.
  • The scientific name of the Gray wolf is Canis lupus while that of the Red Wolf is Canis rufus.
  • A wolf pack can spend eight to ten hours per day hunting and on the move, especially in winter.
  • A wolf pack is often on the move within its territory, covering distances of 20-100 miles a day.
  • A male wolf with no pack needs to mark territory for itself and find a female wolf to mate with.
  • There are 5,000-7,000 wolves in Alaska, where they are still hunted except in parks and reserves.
  • Wolves create and mark their pack’s territories which they defend aggressively against intruders.
  • Red Wolves prefer hunting small prey like rabbits and rodents. They also eat insects and berries.

Random Facts About Wolves

  • A young wolf can leave its pack to join another pack or form its pack once it is sexually mature.
  • In a pack, other wolves approach the alpha with their body lowered and its tail between its legs. 
  • Wolves eat their prey alive, unlike other predators like lions that kill their prey before eating.
  • Wolves communication system involves howling, scent making, barking, yelping, and at times dancing.
  • A wolf can leave its pack or be driven off by the alpha. Such a wolf is referred to as a lone wolf.
  • Pups are born in caves, dens or burrows so that they are well protected because they are born blind.
  • Wolves are usually in the company of Ravens. Raven feed on what is left after wolves make their kill.
  • There are two wolf species in North America: the gray wolf (Canis lupus) and the red wolf (Canis rufus).
  • To conserve their body warmth in the winter, wolves reduce the amount of blood that flows near their skin.
  • A wolf mother has to warmly and gently massage the belly of her pup with her tongue before it can urinate.
  • The genus Canis also includes the coyote, the domestic dog, the African wild dog, the jackal, and the dingo.
  • The wolf usually travels at a trot, averaging 5 mph, and can maintain this pace almost for a very long time.
  • "Dispersers" are wolves who leave a pack; these lone wolves will sometimes find a mate and start a new pack.
  • Wolf pups are born with blue eyes, which will change to yellow-gold by the time the pups are 8-16 weeks old.
  • Urinating or leaving feces on trails is another method wolves use to communicate and to mark their territory.
  • The wolf has extremely powerful jaws that can generate 1,500 psi of pressure, twice that of a German Shepherd.
  • Wolves howl to advertise their presence or position, to greet one another, to rally the pack and to attract a mate.
  • A wolf territory can span thousands of miles. They do this to ensure they have a steady supply of food when hunting.
  • The wolf has two types of hair: guard and undercoat. The long guard hairs repel moisture and the undercoat insulates.
  • Wolves usually hunt in packs, the basic unit of wolf society. However, single wolves can catch and kill a deer or elk.
  • The wolf's sense of smell is 100 times greater than a human's; the wolf possesses as many as 200 million olfactory cells.
  • Gray wolves have distinct silvery gray-brown backs, and their fur comes in different shades of gray, black, white, brown.

Crazy Facts About Wolves

  • There are five recognized subspecies of the gray wolf in North America: arctus, baileyi, lycaon, nubilis and occidentalis.
  • Gray wolves normally measure between 4.5 and 6 feet from nose to end of tail. (Red wolves are generally somewhat smaller.)
  • Wolves do not make good pets; they cannot be trained or housebroken, and solitary wolves can become stressed and neurotic.
  • Subservient wolves will greet a dominant wolf by licking or nipping its muzzle. Such behavior is called "active submission".
  • Wolves can be found in Turkey, Iran, Israel (where they are fully protected), Saudi Arabia, India, Mongolia, China and Russia.
  • Because red wolves are critically endangered, pups born in captivity are given to wild red wolves in the process of fostering.
  • Wolves rarely attack humans. They instead prey on mammals in the wild and domestic livestock if there is a low source of food.
  • The mother wolf stays with her pups and will not leave the den except to eat the food other pack members leave outside for her.
  • Wolves have an acute and keen sense of sight and hearing. A wolf’s hearing is keen enough to hear a leaf fall some distance away.
  • The wolf sheds its bulky winter coat in sheets (unlike most dogs); females tend to lose their winter coats more slowly than males.
  • A subservient wolf lying on the ground and exposing its belly in the presence of a dominant wolf is engaged in "passive submission".
  • Wolves have a sophisticated communication system that employs scent marks, vocalizations, posturing, facial expressions and rituals.
  • Wolf pups begin to accompany adults on hunting forays around the age of three months and begin actively hunting at 7-8 months of age.
  • Multiple pack litters usually occur as a survival response, for instance after severe winters and when population numbers have declined.
  • The wolf mating season in North America occurs only once a year, in February or March, when the female comes into estrus for three weeks.
  • When adult wolves return from a hunt, the pups lick their mouths to encourage them to regurgitate undigested meat which the pups then eat.
  • Many wild wolves die before they reach five years of age. Very few exceed nine years of age. In captivity, wolves can live up to 16 years.
  • Red wolves are listed as critically endangered species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.)
  • Research shows that wolves do make friends. They howl more to wolves in their pack that they spend more time with than other pack members.

Unique Facts About Wolves

  • Wolves eat, on average, 5 to 12 pounds of food per day and require 1 to 3 quarts of water a day. A wolf often goes many days without eating.
  • Dominant male wolves with no pack can sometimes challenge the alpha of a pack. After the fight, the wolf still standing becomes the new alpha.
  • Gray wolves love hunting large mammals with hooves like moose, elk, deer, etc. They also prey on small mammals which make up most of their diet.
  • The bond between pack members is so close that observers have recorded that the death of one engenders an evident sense of loss among the survivors.
  • There are 50,000 wolves in Canada, though they are no longer found in New Brunswick, Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. They are hunted as a game species.
  • When attacking, wolves seize their prey by nose or rump. A wolf rarely hamstrings its prey. (That they do is one of the most common myths about wolves.)
  • Wolves play a significant role in balancing the ecosystem. They prey on deer and elk which are herbivores. This benefits plant growth in their territory.
  • Dispersing wolves may travel long distances. Dispersals of 400 to 500 miles are not unheard of; the longest known dispersal is 829 miles by a Canadian wolf.
  • The mortality rate for wolf pups in the wild is at least 50%. Disease, malnutrition and predation by cougars, bears and humans are the main causes of death.
  • The carnassial teeth (an upper premolar and lower molar) are designed shear tendons and connective tissue, while the back teeth are useful for cracking bone.
  • The only true enemy of the wolf is man. Studies in Canada, Italy and the United States show that from 60-90% of wolf mortality has been through human causes.
  • A wolf's hearing is at least 16 times sharper than a human's. Wolves can hear a sound as far as six miles away in the forest and ten miles away in open country.
  • It is estimated that two million wolves were killed in a war of extermination waged against the species in the United States, the majority between 1850 and 1910.
  • There are approximately 300,000 wolf-hybrids in the United States. They can occasionally be more aggressive than pure wolves and more unpredictable than domestic dogs.
  • Wolves have a low hunting success rate -- catching about one out of every ten prey animals pursued. To catch enough food they must hunt often and test many prey animals.
  • A pack usually consists of a breeding pair and its offspring from the current and perhaps previous years, and is one of the most cohesive social units in the animal world.
  • Young wolf pups drink milk from their mother for about five to ten months before eating real food. Food is usually regurgitated from an older wolf in the pack to the pups.
  • There has been only one documented cause of healthy wolves killing a human in North America. That was committed by captive wolves in a private wildlife sanctuary in Canada.

Fascinating Facts About Wolves

  • When the pups are 8-10 weeks old the pack -- pups included -- moves to a "rendezvous site" some distance from the den. This site is normally an area of about 1,200 square yards.
  • When they leave the den, wolf pups become the responsibility of the entire pack and are treated with affection by all members. The pack's adults participate in training the pups.
  • Den entrances are about 20-28" wide and 15-20" high. There may be more than one entrance. The birthing chamber is located at the end of a tunnel that could be as long as 15 feet.
  • The wolf's prey of choice are large ungulates (hoofed mammals), including deer, elk, caribou, moose and musk-ox; the wolf is designed for running, catching and killing large animals.
  • The wolf has 42 teeth, with six incisors, two canines, eight premolars and four molars in the upper jaw and six incisors, two canines, eight premolars and six molars in the lower jaw.
  • Wolf pack territories range from 20 to 1,000 square miles, with the larger territories found in arctic regions. Territory size is determined by several factors, prey density among them.
  • Wolves weigh between 40 and 140 pounds, with females generally weighing about 15 pounds less than males. There have been a few documented cases of wolves weighing in at about 175 pounds.
  • A wolf den is often near a river or lake so the mother wolf does not have to go far to get water. Dens are located in deep riverbanks, rock outcrops, a hollow log, or under upturned roots.
  • The wolf is an opportunistic hunter and will seek to catch the easiest and most vulnerable animal; it naturally seeks out the sick, the weak, the genetically inferior, the old and the young.
  • Sometimes other pack members besides the alpha pair will mate. Among tundra wolves, subordinate females often become pregnant. In most such cases the alpha male is the father of all the pups.
  • A wolf's front feet are larger than its back feet, and a wolf's foreprint varies from 4.5" to 5" long and 3.5" to 4.5" wide. The outer toes point straight ahead (not outward, like those of dogs.)
  • Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the gray wolf is listed as endangered in all of the Lower 48 states except Minnesota, where it is listed as threatened. The red wolf is listed as endangered.
  • A pack usually numbers between four and seven members; the largest documented pack was found in Alaska and numbered 36 individuals. (European packs are generally smaller, averaging three to four members.)
  • Wolves once had the widest range of any mammal, inhabiting arctic tundra, plains, prairies, deserts, mountains and forests. They were found throughout Europe, Asia, Japan and all of North America except southwest California.
  • The wolf has excellent peripheral vision and superior night vision. The outer perimeter of the wolf's retina is highly sensitive to movement. However, a wolf's eyes lack a foveal pit that allows for sharp focusing at long distances.
  • Wolves range in color from all shades of gray, tan and brown to pure white and solid black. Most wolves of the arctic region are a creamy white color. About 30% of Canadian wolves are black. Black wolves are less frequent in southern regions.
  • There were once three subspecies of red wolf: Canis rufus floridanus, which ranged from Florida through Alabama and is now extinct; C. r. gregoryi, which ranged throughout the Mississippi Valley region into east Texas; and C. r. rufus, which occurred in east and central Texas.
  • The wolf was extinct in most of Europe by 1900. The last wolf in Denmark was killed in 1772, Scotland's last wolf was killed in 1848. Wolves survived in Poland, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, northern Greece, northern Spain and the mountainous central region of Italy. A few wolves have recently returned to Scandinavia, France and Germany.
  • Canis lupus arctus occurs in most of the Canadian Arctic Islands and Greenland; C. l. baileyi, the Mexican wolf, once ranged through northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S.; C. l. lycaon, the eastern timber wolf, is found in southeastern Canada and northeastern U.S.; C. l. nubilis ranged throughout the western U.S., southeastern Alaska and northwestern Canada; C. l. occidentalis occurs in most of Alaska and western Canada.
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