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Wolves eat dogs, even when they are closely related.
Wolves became tamer companions and evolved into dogs about 27,000 years ago.
When wolves howl together, they harmonize rather than sing on one note to give the illusion of greater numbers.
During the siege of Paris in 1870, all the city’s animals were eaten, including rats, mice, dogs, cats, donkeys, wolves and even an elephant.
The grey wolf has always been feared by man and has probably been persecuted more than any other animal. Did you know that centuries ago, wolves were ‘tried’ by people and burnt at the stake? However its intelligence and flexibility have saved it from extinction.
Wolves have only one breeding season per year – in the winter. They have their puppies in late April or early May. They have their puppies in an underground hole, or den. There are usually four to six puppies in a litter. The puppies grow up fast and are their adult size by the end of their first winter. They are grown up by the time they are two years old.
Wolves feed their young by carrying chewed-up food in their stomachs and throwing up, or “regurgitating”, the food for the pups when they come back to the den.
Wolves are not particularly fast, with a top speed of about 45km/h. They instead rely on its hearing and sense of smell to detect prey. They have remarkable powers of endurance and are known to follow their target all day and night if necessary.
When they are successful, wolves do not eat in moderation. A single animal can consume 9 kg of meat at a sitting. The highest ranking wolf will eat first and what cannot be consumed is left for the scavengers, even although the wolf may have to wait another three days for its next meal.
These social animals cooperate on their preferred prey. A single wolf is capable of catching and killing a deer unaided but when hunting as a pack it preys on much larger animals such as deer, elk, and moose. Wolves also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and fruit.
Wolves are highly territorial animals, and generally establish territories far larger than they require to survive; in order to assure a steady supply of prey. Territory size depends largely on the amount of prey available: in areas with an abundance of prey, the territories of resident wolf packs are smaller.
Wolves live and hunt in packs. They are known to roam large distances, perhaps 20 km in a single day. Wolf packs in the far north often travel hundreds of km each year and this is due to them following migrating herds.
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. Calls may be answered by rival packs. Much like barking domestic dogs, wolves may simply begin howling because a nearby wolf has already begun.
Wolves are the largest members of the dog family.
Wolves develop close relationships and strong social bonds. They often demonstrate deep affection for their family and may even sacrifice themselves to protect the family unit.