There is something about wolves that resonates with us. It’s something to do with their ‘lone warrior’ mystique and fierce loyalty; we admire that contradiction of independence and pack mentality. But how much do you actually know about them? Well, did you know they have 42 teeth? And that’s just the start; there are plenty of interesting facts relating to this noble predator.
When it comes to vital statistics the wolf is a big boy. Amongst the genus of canis, which refers to dogs essentially, it is the largest. It grows to almost one meter tall at the shoulder, is between one and a half and two meters in length and weighs up to 60 kg. That means in a scrap with you, the wolf is going to be favourite. However, such negative interactions with human are exceptionally rare to the point of non-existent. In North America where wolves are prevalent, there are no recorded cases of a healthy wolf attacking a human.
So what do they eat? They can’t get enough of hooved animals. As carnivores they exist solely on meat; eating moose, deer, elk, caribou goats and even bison. They’re also happy to munch smaller prey including hares, beavers, birds and even rodents if the opportunity or need arises. If there is a chance to scavenge they will make the most of such fortune.
Socially wolves live in packs; while packs as large as 30 wolves have been recorded the normal size is between six and eight. The leaders will always be the alpha male and female, and it is likely the pack will mostly be made up of their offspring. Theses alpha members will direct the pack in their hunting, den building and establishing of territory.
A packs territory is largely dependent on where they live. For example in the US a territory may be as little as 50 square miles, even smaller in some instances, whereas in Alaska or Canada packs have been known to roam areas up to 1000 square miles.
Social relations in these groups are strong and wolves have elaborate communication systems famously involving howls, but also clicks, whines and whimpers as well as complex body language. Through this interaction the bonds are ever strengthened to the point where single wolves will sacrifice themselves for the pack. However seeing as the wolf can reach a sprinting speed of 35 miles per hour if a wolf needs to get out of trouble sharpish it usually can.
Wolves sadly flirt with endangered species list regularly. In recent times it was estimated there were about two million wild wolves living throughout the world. Now however it is thought to be less than 200,000. These are regal and magnificent beasts, and we should be doing all we can to protect them.
When he’s not shaving his body, wolfman Simon Oliver can be found working as a copywriter for Find Me A Gift, the novelty gift ideas people.