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Wolf, common name for the species of animals that, with jackals and domestic dogs, make up the genus Canis, family Canidae (dog family). Two species - and a varying number of subspecies - of wolves are recognized; the gray, or timber wolf, wolf, C. lupus, once widely distributed in North America, Europe, and Asia; and the red wolf C. rufus which now occurs only in Texas and Louisiana. An adult timber wolf measures up to 1.6 m (6.5 feet) in length, including the tail (which is less than half the body length), and may weigh up to 80 kg (175 lb). The animal is red-yellow or yellow-gray, with black patches above and white below; those in the far north, however, may be pure white, and black or brown timber wolves also occur. The red wolf is somewhat smaller in size and usually darker in color, and may represent a cross with the coyote. All wolves are characterized by powerful teeth, bushy tails, and round pupils, and they are distinguished from domestic dogs (some breeds of which they otherwise resemble) by certain characteristics of the skull.

Wolves are equally at home on prairies, in forestlands, and on all but the highest mountains, but they are not found on desert lands. In the winter they travel in packs in search of food. Small animals and birds are common prey of wolves, which also eat berries, but a pack may sometimes attack reindeer, sheep, and other large mammals, usually selecting weak, old, or very young animals for easier capture. When no live prey can be found, wolves feed on carrion.

The den, or lair, of the wolf may be a cave, a hollow tree trunk, a thicket, or a hole in the ground dug by the wolf. The breeding season is in the spring, and the female has a litter of three to nine cubs. The cubs normally stay with the parents until the following winter but may remain much longer. Parents and young constitute a basic pack, which establishes and defends a territory marked by urine and feces. Larger packs may also assemble, particularly in the winter; the pack leader is called the alpha male, and its mate is the alpha female. As social animals, wolves exhibit behavioral patterns that clearly communicate dominance over or submission to one another; the communal howling of a pack may serve to assemble its members, communicate with other packs, advertise its territorial claims, or simply be a source of pleasure.

Although wolves are still abundant in eastern Europe and in Asia, only remnant populations now exist in western Europe, and their numbers in the New World also have been greatly diminished. They are fairly abundant in Alaska and Canada, but remnant populations of timber wolves south of Canada occur only in Minnesota and Mexico. The decreasing numbers of wolves are the result of encroachment on their territory by humans, who have long regarded wolves as competitors for prey and as a dangerous animals in themselves. The fact is that few, if any, healthy wolves have attacked humans, whom they instead try to avoid, and wolves are valuable predators in the food web. Their decimation has led to the overpopulation of a number of other animal species in various areas. Humans have also used wolves, in that sledge dogs are often crossbred with wolves to improve the vigor of the stock.


Be careful with fire in our forests. Not only does fire destroy our forests, wild life and humans, it also destroys homes.

Please take the time to go to this page to find all you'll ever want to know about wolves. There are also many photographs to be viewed


Another wolf site worth visiting is that of LadyWolf. It is truly an exceptional site.

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