Information on all kinds of wolves!
gray wolves, arctic wolves, red wolves...
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Wolves are the most feared animals on Earth. People have slaughtered them mercilessly for years. They are now making a great comeback in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Mexican wolves live in Texas and Mexico. Gray Wolves live in Canada and northern states in the USA, including Alaska. Red wolves are being reintroduced into a wildlife sanctuary in North Carolina.
Usually only the alpha pair mates. The alpha male and female often go off by themselves, and are slightly snappish to other wolves. When they walk they rub against each other, and constantly touch each other with their muzzles.
The affection ends shortly after the male mounts the female. The female is often sniffing around old dens, rock caves, and other enclosed, dark spaces. She growls and snaps at the alpha male, because sometimes wolf fathers eat the pups. In winter it is more common because usually wolves are more hungry because game is scarce.
After 61-63 days (see Pups) the female gives birth.
Wolf pups are helpless, blind at birth, and easy prey for other wolves. Usually only the alpha pair are allowed to mate. Their pups are treated like every wolf's pups, being cared for by the omegas (weak, runty or "wimpy" wolves) when the parents are hunting.
When they are about eight weeks old, the pups are taken to a rendezvous site. This is a meeting place where wolves play. The wolves guard the pups from predators such as bears and hawks.
They can walk after a few weeks and can see after a few days.
The gestation period is simaliar to dogs'. It is about 61-63 days.
When wolves hunt, a few wolves try to distract, if the animals are in a herd, young or healthy animals that may defend the babies, elderly animals, or sick. The wolves taunt the young animals until they rush at them. Then they coyly lead them away while the alpha pair and the other wolves do their job.
The alpha pair clamp their jaws onto the prey's muzzle. The other wolves sink their long fangs into the neck, sides, and flanks. If they kill the animal (usually 6 out of ten hunts are unsuccessful) then the alpha male and female gorge themselves first, followed by the lower-ranking wolves, or the beta. The weak wolf (or wolves) eat last, or not at all. After eating, the wolves take a drink. The blood is washed away. There is no immediate need to hunt. Wolves do not eat their own kind, though if a lone wolf enters a pack's territory, the wolves may injure or kill it.
Wolves are the most social non-human predators on Earth. The heirarchy is established first with the alpha male and female, followed by the beta, or lower-ranking wolves. The weaklings, called omegas, are the weakest wolves. Betas and the omega(s) alike fawn over the alphas and higher-ranking wolves. Wolves assert their authority over lower-ranking wolves by making the hair on their back raise up, their ears prick up, and their tail raise. Sometimes they growl or snarl. If the lower-ranking wolf does not back down, a fight may arise.
Gray wolves are not always just gray. They can be pure white to jet black and all the gray colors in between. They have slightly rigid guard hair with softer, downier hair underneath. They have longer hair on their ruff, belly and tail than the rest of the body. Wolves have large paws, and some can be the size of a man's hand! They have golden, yellow, or green eyes. A few have
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