Wolves

=^.^=  In doing my research last night about the brown recluse I decided to cover another animal that has a bad rap sheet .. wolves.

Now I personally find them to be beautiful mysterious creatures, but they are often hunted down and killed for no reason other than for what they are… animals. So I wanted to present facts about wolves as well as some information about the wolf relocation project.

(Taken from http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/wolf/)

Photo: A gray wolf in the snow

Wolves are legendary because of their spine-tingling howl, which they use to communicate. A lone wolf howls to attract the attention of his pack, while communal howls may send territorial messages from one pack to another. Some howls are confrontational. Much like barking domestic dogs, wolves may simply begin howling because a nearby wolf has already begun.

Wolves are the largest members of the dog family. Adaptable gray wolves are by far the most common and were once found all over the Northern Hemisphere. But wolves and humans have a long adversarial history. Though they almost never attack humans, wolves are considered one of the animal world’s most fearsome natural villains. They do attack domestic animals, and countless wolves have been shot, trapped, and poisoned because of this tendency.

In the lower 48 states, gray wolves were hunted to near extinction, though some populations survived and others have since been reintroduced. Few gray wolves survive in Europe, though many live in Alaska, Canada, and Asia.

Red wolves live in the southeastern United States, where they are endangered. These animals actually became extinct in the wild in 1980. Scientists established a breeding program with a small number of captive red wolves and have reintroduced the animal to North Carolina. Today, perhaps 100 red wolves survive in the wild.

The maned wolf, a distant relative of the more familiar gray and red wolves, lives in South America. Physically, this animal resembles a large, red fox more than its wolf relatives.

Wolves live and hunt in packs of around six to ten animals. They are known to roam large distances, perhaps 12 miles (20 kilometers) in a single day. These social animals cooperate on their preferred prey—large animals such as deer, elk, and moose. When they are successful, wolves do not eat in moderation. A single animal can consume 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of meat at a sitting. Wolves also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and fruit.

Wolfpacks are established according to a strict hierarchy, with a dominant male at the top and his mate not far behind. Usually this male and female are the only animals of the pack to breed. All of a pack’s adults help to care for young pups by bringing them food and watching them while others hunt.

Map

Map: Wolf rangeWolf Range

Fast Facts

Type:
Mammal
Diet:
Carnivore
Average life span in the wild:
6 to 8 years
Size:
Head and body, 36 to 63 in (91 to 160 cm); Tail, 13 to 20 in (33 to 51 cm)
Weight:
40 to 175 lbs (18 to 79 kg)
Group name:
Pack
Protection status:
Endangered
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Wolf compared with adult man

(Taken from http://fangedwolf.tripod.com/Wolf.htm)

Hunting

The pack relies heavily on group hunting, as they are usually quite a bit smaller than their prey. They need co-operation and coordination in order to feed the pack sufficiently. They rely on their sense of smell heavily; which is said to be 100 times greater than our own, to hunt. They can travel great distances while hunting. They have great stamina and strength, and can travel far for extended periods. Some wolves have been clocked at traveling 24-28 miles per hour. Although they cannot maintain great speed for any length of time, they seem to be able to trot indefinitely at about 5mph.

In winter wolves use frozen rivers and lakes as travel routes. They also can travel between 15-25km in a single night. Usually wolves eat all that they kill, gorging themselves, as they did not know when their next meal would be. Wolves will often go for days without food, and then can eat up to 100lbs of meat at a time. Crows and ravens have been known to help wolves find food. The wolves make the kill, and gorge themselves, and the ravens get the leftovers. It is an unlikely partnership, but one that works.

Common Misconceptions

(taken from http://www.aws.vcn.com/wolf_myth_legend_misconception.html)

MISCONCEPTION 1 – MAN’S FEAR OF WOLVES COMES FROM MYTH AND LEGEND

It’s true that there are story book tales of the “Big, Bad Wolf.” Is this the real reason that there is fear and hatred toward wolves? Research doesn’t support such a claim. This author has spent hundreds of hours in research and interviews with people who have had personal experiences with the wolf and there was not one time a person alluded to a myth or a legend. They spoke of what they saw with their own eyes.

MISCONCEPTION 2 – WOLVES ARE ENDANGERED THEREFORE WE MUST RECOVER THEM THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES

“Endangered” to most people simply means “few in number.” But that is not always the case. Animals can number in the thousands, be in no danger of extinction and still be listed as “endangered” on the ESA. Such is the case with the wolf.

Meow! Woof! Chirrp! Tell me what you think. =^..^=