Explore the world of wolves
The wolf is the largest member of the “canid” group, which includes domestic dogs, jackals, and coyotes. But surely you had already heard about him in stories. He is the enemy of Little Red Riding Hood and also of The Three Little Pigs where he is described as evil, fearsome and above all… fierce.
Do you think this animal is misunderstood? Or is there some truth in these fictional stories? A good way to understand wolves is to learn more about them. Let’s start our mission!
- Wolves live in family groups or packs throughout their lives. Each pack has a male and female leader called “alphas.” Alphas are the only ones that have babies. They are in charge of directing the hunting trips and maintaining the order of the group. This structure is very similar to the families of humans!
- There are three species of wolves in the world: the gray wolf, the red wolf and the Ethiopian wolf. The largest and most common of all is the gray wolf, which despite its name can be of various colors. A subspecies of the gray wolf is the arctic wolf which is white or yellow in color. The red wolf, of which it is estimated that there are only 40 copies left, receives its name from the reddish tone of its fur, similar to that of a fox, although it can also be brown. The Ethiopian wolf is reddish or orange in color and unfortunately, it is also one of the most endangered canid species, there are less than 550 of them.
- Wolves hunt in packs, which is why they prefer to feed on animals much larger than themselves, such as elk, deer, and even horses. However, lone wolves, or those that have been removed from the pack, hunt small animals such as rabbits, birds, and fish.
- Wolves communicate in various ways, they howl to announce themselves or call other members of the pack, they moan and whimper to show that they are sad, they also growl and bark to threaten their enemies. They also use urine to mark their territories. When all the wolves in the pack howl, they do so to alert other packs of their presence.
- The alpha female is the only one in the pack that has young, which are called pups. Before giving birth, she digs a hole in the ground called a lair. The cubs are born blind and deaf, so they are completely dependent on the mother who feeds them with her milk. After two weeks, the female and cubs leave the den. All the wolves in the pack help care for the pups.
- Wolves live 6 to 8 years in the wild.