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.


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)


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