Average lifespan in the wild: 6 to 8 years
Size: Head and body, 36 to 63 in (91 to 160 cm); Tail, 13 to 20 in (33 to 51 cm)
Weight: 40 to 175 lbs (18 to 79 kg)
Group name: Pack
Protection status: Endangered
What does a wolf look like?
Looking very much like domestic dogs, wolves inspire fear and wonder. Look at the large breed domestic dogs to get a sense of the body configuration of the wolf — muscular, deep-chested bodies covered with fur, a long muzzle and large ears. They range in color according to species, but a consistent characteristic is the wolf's long, sharp canine teeth, excellent for stabbing prey.
Where do wolves live?
In the lower 48 states, gray wolves were hunted to near extinction, though some populations survived and others have since been reintroduced. Few gray wolves survive in Europe, though many live in Alaska, Canada, and Asia.
What does a wolf eat?
Wolves live and hunt in packs of around six to ten animals. They are known to roam large distances, perhaps 12 miles (20 kilometers) in a single day. These social animals cooperate on their preferred prey—large animals such as deer, elk, and moose. When they are successful, wolves do not eat in moderation. A single animal can consume 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of meat at a sitting. Wolves also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and fruit.
Why do wolves howl?
Wolves are legendary because of their spine-tingling howl, which they use to communicate. A lone wolf howls to attract the attention of his pack, while communal howls may send territorial messages from one pack to another. Some howls are confrontational. Much like barking domestic dogs, wolves may simply begin howling because a nearby wolf has already begun.
Did you know this about wolves?
Wolves howl to declare territory, call pack members to a specific location or strengthen social bonds. Small packs tend to howl less than large packs, so as to draw less attention to themselves.
A frightened wolf will try to make itself look small and inconspicuous by flattening its ears against its head and tucking its tail between its legs.
It's generally accepted that the domestic dog evolved from the gray wolf. All domestic dogs came from Old World gray wolves; North American gray wolves were never domesticated.
A wolf's jaw can exert 1,500 pounds of pressure per square inch — that's twice as strong as a German shepherd.
Video Surveillance to Advance the Survival of Wolf Populations