How Much do You Know about Wolves?

“Through the centuries, we have projected onto the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves. “

— Barry Lopez, Of Wolves and Men

Gray wolves are the largest animals in the canid family. His extended family includes: jackals, domestic dogs, dingoes, foxes, bush dogs and other wild dogs.


Man has had a love-hate relationship with wolves for thousands of years.  One way to understand the wolf is to learn more about him.

When the Gray Wolf Breeds

Surprisingly, gray wolves only breed once per year, in the months of January or February.  The  latitude where the wolves live determines the breeding date.

After a gestation period of 63 days, the pups are born between March and May.  A litter is usually 5 or 6 pups.

“… What Big Eyes You Have …”

The average male gray wolf is about 6 feet long (including the tail) and between 70 and 100 lbs.  Measuring from 33 to 38 inches at the shoulder, a gray wolf is an awesome sight in the wild!

Females are a bit smaller.

Gray wolves are at their largest in the coldest climates, where they use the extra bulk to conserve their body heat.

Although called ‘gray’ wolves, their color may actually range from white to black  — with many other shades included: tan, buff, sandy brown, cream and red.

How They Live

Wolves live in packs.  These packs vary in size from fewer than 7 to a maximum of about 20.  The amount of prey helps decide the ideal size of a pack for an area.

The wolf’s main diet consists of moose, deer, rabbits, caribou, bison, beaver and mice.

Once, these creatures roamed over most of  North America — except for arid desert and tropical forest regions.  Now, however, the Endangered Species Act protects the wolves in the US (except for Alaska, where they are not endangered).

In 47 of the 48 lower states, the wolves are endangered;  they are ‘threatened’ in Minnesota.

On the Other Hand

The federal government has reintroduced the gray wolves back into regions where they have been gone for generations.  This has not been met with joy in all areas. 

Not everyone is happy about the return of the gray wolf!

 Next Time:  The Story that Goes with this Photo!


“Ridgetop Survey” is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

The second photo was sent (via email) by my husband, Richard


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Published in: on May 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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One Comment

  1. […] I indicated yesterday — in How Much do You Know about Wolves? — wolves no longer roam over huge expanses of North […]

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