Gray Wolf

Gray Wolf
Gray Wolf
Picture(s): Jeff Foott/DCI |

The largest canid in the world, the gray wolf spends most of its life in packs, usually of five to ten individuals, that are led by the so-called alpha pair, the only male and female in the pack to breed.

Occasionally the wolf hunts and forages alone.

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However, when preying on large animals such as moose and deer, it will hunt with the pack, using a variety of strategies, such as pushing its prey toward a rendez-vous point where other pack members wait in ambush.

The wolf uses a haunting howl to keep the pack together.

High-ranking adults also communicate by scent-marking with urine and feces.

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Animal Facts

Name: Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Family: Canidae (Dogs and Relatives)

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Range: Canada and northern United States; southern and eastern Europe to India and Russia

Habitat: Varied: forest, grassland, tundra

Diet: Moose, caribou, deer, musk oxen, bison, beavers, rabbits, and other small mammals

Head and Body Length: 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.6 m)

Tail Length: 12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 cm)

Shoulder Height: 20 to 39 inches (50 to 100 cm)

Weight: 50 to 176 pounds (23 to 80 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating January to March; gestation 61 to 63 days, three to seven cubs born

Description: Black and white, thick fur; long, pointed muzzle; large, upright, sensitive ears; long, sharp teeth; long legs

Conservation Status: Not listed by the IUCN.

Related Content: Running with the Wolves

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