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Gray Wolf

World of Wolves (Canines)

Common Name:        Gray Wolf

Genus/Species:         Canis lupus

Range:

One of the most widely distributed animals in the world; Northern limit Greenland and Southern limit Ethiopia.

Natural Habitat:

Wolves can thrive in a broad diversity of habitats: Tundra, Woodlands, Forests, Grasslands and Deserts.

Physical Appearance:

Identical in color, males more robust as a rule, both males and females range from all shades of gray, tan and brown to pure white or solid black They are sexually dimorphic in size as the females are 15% to 25% smaller than males. The males can weigh up to 175 lbs. and range from 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 feet long with tail.

Reproduction:

Mates for life, strong pair bond, only dominate Alpha pair breeds. Female sexually active in second year. Estrus lasts 5-7 days and takes place once a year in late winter. Gestation lasts from 59 to 63 days; young are born in late March to early May; litter size one to eleven, average 5-6; pups at birth 8-13 inches long weighing 12-16 ounces. Wolves are crazy about pups. At 5-6 weeks pups are weaned onto more solid foods, mostly food regurgitated by other pack members. At eight months pups almost full adult weight. The pups are the future of the pack, they are the prized and coddled members of the group.

STATUS in Natural Habitat:

Endangered to Vulnerable based on geographic location.

Cool Fact:

The brain of a dog is 15% to 30% smaller than brain of a comparable size wolf. Wolves social bonding and care giving behavior are second only to those of humans and other social primates.

 

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