Wolves

Timber WolfThe wolf is thought to be an ice age survivor, dating wolves around 300,000 years ago. Wolves once ranged in a wide variety of ecosystems around the world in the northern hemisphere. Although they are called gray wolves, these ancestors of domestic dogs actually range in color from brownish-gray, to all black, to all white.

Changing habitats, prey densities and availability, and human competition and hunting are influencing variables on where wolves can live. The wolf is accepted to be the ancestor of the domestic dogs. Wolves are considered to be an endangered species today as they have been widely exterminated from their former ranges by hunting, poisoning, and trapping to procure their fur and to protect livestock.

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The wolf is a large carnivore and requires a diet high in protein. Wolves are also referred to as top-level predators because there is no other wild animal that hunts wolves to eat them. As a large carnivore, the wolf requires a large prey source, usually an ungulate or hoofed animal, such as deer, moose, elk or caribou. These large hoofed animals make up most of the diet of wolves around the world. Wolves will supplement their diet with smaller mammals such as beaver, hares/rabbits.

Wolves howl for many reasons. They howl as a way of communicating with other wolves. Wolves howl when they are rallying for a hunt, mourning, communicating with another pack of wolves or when a pack member has become separated – a lost wolf howls and the other members of his pack respond, giving him a sound to guide him home.

Pack members recognize each others voices.Howling can also serve as a declaration of territory or a sign of protection such as protecting a fresh kill. Wolves tend to howl the most during the twilight hours, usually before the adults go and hunt and on their return. Wolves also tend to howl more during their breeding season and throughout rearing of pups. The wolf pups in turn will begin to howl and will be provoked into howling sessions quite easily.