Wolves: 10 Characteristics, Interesting Facts, Habitat, Characteristics, Behaviors

We explain what the wolf is, what its anatomy is like and the habitat where it lives. Also, what are its features, playback and more.

What is the wolf?

Wolves are a species of canids, which groups more than 50 subspecies . This great variety of subspecies is due to the fact that their physical characteristics allow them to adapt to various ecosystems and they have spread throughout almost the entire northern hemisphere.

Despite their resemblance and closeness to the dog , wolves are difficult to tame.

These are mammals that live in herds and maintain a hierarchical social structure, although some individuals can live alone.

They are great hunters thanks to the sharpness of their senses, the strength of their jaws and the speed of their legs.

Despite not having natural predators , many of its subspecies are in danger of extinction due to indiscriminate hunting by man.

Wolf Characteristics :

  1. Physical features

Physical features Female wolves typically weigh 20% less than males.

The wolf is a quadrupedal animal that in adulthood measures between 65 and 90 cm high and between 130 and 200 cm long (from the snout to the tip of the tail). The tail is usually the length of a quarter of the body.

Its weight depends on the breed and the availability of food , so it varies between 30 and 80 kg (this figure corresponds to the weight of the heaviest recorded wild wolf, which was hunted in Alaska in 1939). Females usually weigh 20% less than males.

  1. Locomotion

The anatomy of the wolves is prepared to cover great distances in a single day. First of all, they have long, agile legs supported by a powerful back . The fingers are joined by small membranes, so that their feet are adapted to move easily on all types of terrain, including snow.

These characteristics allow wolves to reach speeds of up to 65 km/h in short pursuits and 10 km/h in trots that can last many hours. When running, they can jump up to five meters long.

  1. Habitat

Habitat Wolves usually live in forested areas and move through mountains and plains.

Wolves are adapted to diverse ecosystems so different species can be found in Europe , Asia and North America . They are found in forested areas but can also survive in a frozen ground ecosystem such as the tundra .

They can move through mountains and plains, but the essential requirement for the survival of wolf groups is to have a large territory that they can dominate , which varies between 33 and 200 km2, depending on the species and the size of the group.

  1. Senses

The wolf is characterized by its excellent sense of smell, which is 100 times more powerful than that of humans . This allows it not only to detect the scents of its prey at a long distance, but also to identify other wolves by the characteristic scent that each individual has.

The eyes of the wolves are duplex, that is, they are adapted to both day and night vision . However, at night they lose some of their visual acuity.

  1. Herd behavior

herd behavior Wolves live in packs with a strict social order of hierarchy.

Like many other mammals, the wolf has a gregarious behavior, that is, it lives in packs . In the case of wolves, each pack has a strict social order according to hierarchies in which each individual must fulfill a specific function.

There is a male leader and a female leader , and both control the resources and are followed by the rest of the members of the pack, which usually has between 8 and 20 members.

  1. Reproduction

Reproduction In each litter between 5 and 8 puppies are born that are raised by the pack or the mother.

In general, only male and female leaders can reproduce . In fact, in tightly knit packs, the other females don’t even go into heat. For this reason, the males usually go out in search of sexual partners towards other packs.

The females come into heat (a period suitable for reproduction) only once a year, for a period of between 5 and 14 days.

The gestation period is only 60 days , although it varies in each species. In each litter, between 5 and 8 cubs can be born, which can be raised by the entire pack or only by the mother.

  1. Fur change

fur change The arctic wolf’s fur allows it to camouflage itself in the snow.

Wolves have two layers of fur:

  • Outer layer. Repels water and dirt.
  • Inner layer. Dense undercoat, also waterproof, and insulating against the cold.

This fur usually falls and regrows in spring and summer .

The color of the wolf’s hair varies in each species and in some cases it works as camouflage. For example, the arctic wolf has white fur that allows it to go unnoticed in frozen landscapes.

  1. Sound communication

sound communication The howl serves the wolf to know the location of its pack or alert danger.

Wolves communicate through sounds, both howling and barking . Not all the functions of the wolf’s howl are known, but it is known that you can use it to know the location of your pack.

Barking can be used to alert of danger , and growling is a means for the alpha male and beta female to order the rest of the pack.

  1. Predators

Wolves are predators, meaning that no animal feeds on them . Other predators can attack them, but only when they are outside of a pack.

They feed on mammals such as pigs, deer, or sheep , depending on the animals available. They may also hunt rodents or birds , especially if they are outside of a pack.

  1. Body communication

body communication The wolf can express submission by lowering the body.

Wolves have a wide variety of gestures to express different moods or relationships with other wolves. For example, to express aggressiveness, not only growls appear, but also the fur stands on end and the teeth are shown.

To show dominance over another wolf, it stands tall, with its ears pricked, and may even stand on its hind legs. On the contrary, you can express submission by lowering your body and pulling your lips and ears back.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.

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