READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post wolf-related questions and we'll try our best to find the answers.

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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by Nordue » Sun May 17, 2015 12:26 am

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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by Koa » Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:56 pm

Updated population numbers; the updates mainly came from here, any updated numbers from here, and various estimates posted from this past year.

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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by D0m » Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:16 pm

I never knew Spain had such a large wolf population!
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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by Koa » Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:07 pm

Another rough update. Added (needed) reference links under the portion regarding wolf packs and wolf hierarchy, added/clarified species/subspecies information and linked to various helpful resources, and I removed the questions and answers from Dan MacNulty's Q&A awhile back and simply provided a link to a mass thread of compiled Q&A answers from guests. (Which was supposed to become a more organized mass Q&A list after they were all hunted down, but I can't remember if a final version of that thread was created. So I may or may not have that done next and get it to replace the current "Captive Wolf Q&A" thread as an announcement in this forum.)

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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by cutepuppy4 » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:32 pm

how many times do wolfs breed?
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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by Koa » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:15 pm

cutepuppy4 wrote:how many times do wolfs breed?
Once a year.
When do wolves breed, how long is their gestation period, when are their young ones born and how much do they weigh?

Wolves breed once a year in late winter or early spring depending on where they live. The standard gray wolf's mating season takes place in February to March. Wolves that live in Arctic regions typically breed a few weeks later, in March to April. Red wolves breed in late January or early February.

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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by Masika » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:59 pm

Koa wrote:I removed the questions and answers from Dan MacNulty's Q&A awhile back and simply provided a link to a mass thread of compiled Q&A answers from guests. (Which was supposed to become a more organized mass Q&A list after they were all hunted down, but I can't remember if a final version of that thread was created. So I may or may not have that done next and get it to replace the current "Captive Wolf Q&A" thread as an announcement in this forum.)
I've had a dig around the forums and it does not seem as if an official/finalised version of the topic had been posted at all (I see that Cana did mention copying and pasting the questions and answers into pawnee's current topic, although this did not seem to occur either). So, what I've done is compiled a full list of the questions and answered that were provided by our guest wolf experts throughout the forums (some stuff that may be regarded as outdated or not related to wolves was cut to ensure it stays updated and relevant). I have not added categories or specifically listed the questions & answers in anyway, since I figured you may prefer to do this (if you even feel there is a need to organise it in such a way, since people could always use ctrl+F if they want to find something specific). Some of the questions have also been cut down/reworded to make it easier for others to read them and such.

I hope that this is what you had in mind and if it is, please feel free to either paste it somewhere on this topic or post it as a new topic if you so desire (although the latter seems better in terms of organisation, hence why I've somewhat set it out as if it was an individual topic)!

Wolf Q&A List
WolfQuest's Wolf Expert Q&A List
Here is a compilation of answers that have been provided by WolfQuest's resident wolf experts based on questions that have been asked by users on the forums.

Wolf experts:

What biomes do wolves live in?
CLBaileyi wrote:Wolves are known to live in forests and prairies, tundra, barren ground, mountains, deserts and swamps. The only really distinct biome I can think of that true wolves don't live are in true rainforests, such as the Amazon or other rainforests in southeast Asia. Other canids certainly do use such habitats. ... 6#p1153491

What does rufus mean in "Canis Rufus" (Red wolf)?
CLBaileyi wrote:Rufus means red or ruddy in Latin. ... &p=1151009

Can wolves ever be all one color (e.g. solid gray, solid black, solid brown, etc.)?
CLBaileyi wrote:A true wolf cannot be a single color. Even arctic wolves have other colors in their coat. ... &p=1151009

How old can a wolf be when it disperses? I've heard and read that they can about about a year old or a year and 1/2, I just want to know if it's true or not.
CLBaileyi wrote:Per Dave Mech and Steve Fritts: Wolves can disperse as early as 5 months or as old as 5 years. However, most wolves disperse between 11-24 months of age. Also, most wolves disperse in aut5umn and early winter or around spring denning season, although they may disperse at any time of the year.

The above information and a GREAT resource for anyone interested in wolves is the book: Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation edited by L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani. It is worth every penny to have the latest information about wolves in one book. ... 69#p765469

I read in "Spirit of the Wolf" by Shaun Ellis that wolves can help portray their rank by growing darker, bolder fur. Especially around the eyes/muzzle and following the spine down to the tip of the tail. Although it seems plausible, I've seen many light coloured Alpha wolves who have an absence of bold markings. Can anyone find any information to back this claim up?
CLBaileyi wrote:Yes, this topic has already been discussed, but as some have explained, there is no relationship between the color of a wolf's coat and their "rank" in the pack (also, see other threads re: rank in wild wolves). There is no biological basis for this theory.
CLBaileyi wrote:
the shade of the wolves fur does not show its rank but it shows its age an older wolf has a lighter fur then a wolf who is younger to show the ranks is by its personality
I am not sure if I am understanding you correctly, but the color of an older animal being "sometimes" lighter in color than a younger animal has nothing to do with showing its rank, based on age (i.e. a younger animal is automatically "dominant" over an older animal, or the opposite). ... 67#p532170 ... 67#p601567

Which of the following wolves is the strongest: Arctic Wolf, Eastern Timber Wolf, Great Plains Wolf, Mexican Wolf, Northwestern Gray Wolf, or the Red Wolf? Also, which of these has the loudest howl?
CLBaileyi wrote:As others have stated, this is an individual situation. Largest wolves are sometimes more subordinate than smaller wolves, etc. There is also alot of overlap between the subspecies-some Mexican wolves can be 80 lbs, which is as large as some great plains subspecies wolves. There is also no relatedness between species and vocal intensity of their howl. ... 57#p601557

I went to this one place and they had a show about wolves and the lady told me not even a week after the cameras went away, the pack turned on the alpha female and hurt her bad and they all seemed to respect her alot on the camera, so I am wondering why they did that and turned on her.
CLBaileyi wrote:Wolves are opportunistic, especially in captivity where the pack structure is not what normally you would find in the wild, and will take any opportunity to take control or become the "dominant" animal. They are very attune to seeing vulnerability in other pack members, and it sometimes can involve an event involving the entire pack. As captive managers, it is crucial to be able to notice the subtle changes within the group, but wolves are the best ones to do this-not humans. Also, it is rare for the dominance "attack" to be fatal, but again, this happens in the wild as well. ... 2&p=601555

Do wolves hunt different animals according to the season?
CLBaileyi wrote:Actually, wolves kill a variety of prey throughout the year (i.e. they will eat elk/bison throughout the year) and not just in winter. Also, they are not "desparate" for food to go after bison. There are also plenty of large prey available in the spring and summer and wolves, along with other predators, take adult elk and the like. It also has nothing to do with "how hungry" they are in the summer vs. winter. There are alot of articles written about wolves and prey in the journals on line-you might find more specific information there. Also, the IWC has a great section on their website about wolves and prey. I highly recommend it. ... 42#p601542

What places in the USA (besides ynp) can wolves be found in/at?
CLBaileyi wrote:Wolves are seen more and more often in MN, WI, and MI, in addition to the northern Rockies. However, the best place to have a chance to see wolves is still in Yellowstone National Park (although there are more wolves in MN alone than in the entire Northern Rocky population). ... 4#p1175414

Do you think wolves choose to kill coyotes or just do it because they choose to? Yellowstone wolves tend to hate coyotes, and some even made a sport out of it like the Druids did in the days of Wolf 41. But the Algonquin park wolves have and do breed with coyotes and join coyote packs. Its intresting to note that the red wolf began to breed with coyotes in its last years before it became extinct in the wild, pherhaps wolves only breed with other canines when theres no other wolf to hang around? But then agian pherhaps its taught from generation to generation to either bite or tolerate coyotes?
Generally speaking, when wolves and coyotes live in the same area, the wolf will try and chase or kill the coyote. They generally "don't get along" well, as Pawnee mentioned re: the Yellowstone situation with the two since wolves were restored in the mid 1990's.

When wolves and coyotes do interbreed, it usually happens because wolf numbers were so low that a single animal wasn't able to find a suitable wolf mate. This is was has been known to happen in parts of the country where wolves have declined to very low numbers and coyotes have adapted and expanded their range. For example, this has happened in the SE United States with the red wolf and the Midwest with gray wolves. When gray wolves reach a higher population level, the wolf's behavior to chase, injure, or kill coyotes usually returns. ... 529#p72819

Will siblings disperse together? Like 2-3 sisters or brothers, or possibly a combination of the two genders, might want to disperse together. Would this actually happen? Would it increase the chances for survival for the wolves? And would they stay together once they found mates, or would they go their separate ways? Also, would wolves disperse a pack, possibly earlier or later (meaning a dominant wolf or one that chose to stay with its parents for a long time) than usual, if the rest of the pack was ill? Such as, with mange, distemper, or another similar disease?
CLBaileyi wrote:Wolves do indeed disperse in sibling groups and sometimes will even stay together for longer periods of time once one one of the animals becomes a breeding animal (although not very often).

More often than not, when mange, distemper, parvo virus is contracted into a pack, the infected animals become very debilitated and either die quickly (especially with parvo/distempter) or cannot keep up with the rest of the pack.

I hope that helps ... 0#p1413562

When a wolf pack isn't hunting, marking territory, patroling territory, taking care of pups, etc. what they do to don't get bored?
CLBaileyi wrote:I would just like to make a comment that in the sense you are talking, if I am correct, is that wolves don't get "bored" in the wild. There are so many things that they are exposed to and things they are faced with to simply survive, that there isn't alot of "time to be bored".

In captivity, however, this can be a challenge for wolf caretakers because we have taken away things like searching for shelter, food, avoiding predators and other threats, etc. ... 0#p1275756

Can dark-furred/melanistic wolves have lighter markings (lighter brown to whitish cream) on their chin/throat/muzzle or chest even when they're younger?
Or do aging black wolves only have light markings as they get older?
CLBaileyi wrote:There is no set timeline for a coat color to start to fade or change. Usually, this doesn't happen until they are at least 3-4 years old, but again, some animals will retain their"darker color" longer than that...just like with humans-some get gray hair earlier than others.

Also, all subspecies will lighten in color intensity of their pelt (not just black phase). ... 0#p1204898

I hear that in Mongolia and other places that do falconry, a golden eagle (or sometimes a pair) can take down a wolf. Is this true, or even possible? Coyotes and deer, sure, but a wolf?
CLBaileyi wrote:It is true about the use of golden eagles for falconry and the taking of wolves. Wolves are at a stable population in Mongolia, and a large female golden can take such an animal. Golden eagles are the most powerful we have in North America, and one of the most powerful of all eagles (harpy eagles take primates in South America, along with sloths and are also quite a force to be dealt with only by those who have alot of eagle experience). Golden eagles are known to take reindeer, elk calves, pronghorn fawns, and have killed condors in the Grand Canyon. ... 0#p1163745

How high is a wolf able to jump to? Do different types of wolves jump a different height?
CLBaileyi wrote:In my years of working with wolves, I have seen them make over a three foot verticle jump, and can certainly climb over an 8 foot fence, when given the right incentive to do so (during a capture, escape from other wolves during a dominance fight).
I guess that if you are asking if adrenaline affects them like humans (i.e. if they are excited/stressed they can and may do things that they might not normally do, then I would say yes). For example, if a wolf is really stressed out during a capture/dominance fight, then it may take them much more immobilization drugs to get them to a point where you can safely handle them vs. if they are calm to begin with. With the African Wild Dogs at the place I work now (The Wild Canid Center) we did some training to have them tolerate an injection by us vs. having to be darted by the veterinarian. We found out that we needed less than half the amount of drug for when we hand injected them vs. when we would need to dart them with the same drugs. This is a much safer way to go (for both the wolf and us!).

re: the ability to go over an 8 ft. fence, I just want to make sure that you all see the word "climb" and not that they can jump 8 ft. ... 0#p1130866 ... 0#p1138344

Do more researchers try and live handle and animal? How are researchers limiting the death of subject animals? What is the accepted mortality rate among test subjects?
CLBaileyi wrote:
It really depends on the situation as to why the animals must be captured. Live handling could work, though I would supposed a drug of some sort would be needed... Again it really depends on the situation at hand.
As stated above, each situation may require a particular method of restraint (either manual with animal awake, or chemical with animal anesthetised). The thing I would like to mention is that any self respecting wildlife researcher is very dedicated to the welfare and well-being of the animals that they are studying. I know it is sometimes hard to consider the need to get "hands on" with a wild animal in the field, but the people I have had the opportunity to work with for the past 20 years are very concerned about this issue and do their best for the animal. Some of the work and information about their ecology we have done with wolves and other species may require tagging/collaring the animal.

I know it may be a controversial topic for some, but without the collaring that is being done in Yellowstone NP and other areas is continuing to give valuable information to biologists. In my mind, you can never stop learning about something. ... 0#p1089623

How many things do wolves eat?
CLBaileyi wrote:Basically, as others have said, a wolf will eat just about anything they can catch, depending on what prey they may have in their area/surroundings. Some wolves become specialists (ie wolves in Wood bison park in Canada).

This was also something that the biologists looked at when they were deciding the subspecies of wolf to translocate to Yellowstone National park-one that had experiences with bison and elk (to name just a few of their primary prey items). ... 0#p1088860

I have a maybe simple question about the amount of blood that is running through the veins of a average wolf, how much in liters is that?
CLBaileyi wrote:I asked this question to one of the vets that we work with at the Center, and she said, for an average sized wolf (70 lbs), the wolf would have ~ 2 litres of blood in their system ... 0#p1088849

Where can I find general, reliable information about wolves?
CLBaileyi wrote:As others have said, you do need to be careful about where you are getting the information from, especially with high profile species or issues.

I highly recommend, and as stated in the sidebar of wolf quest, If you can't find it there, I doubt you will find it anywhere else if you are specifically looking for information on wolves. The center is above biases on the information and the information is coming directly from the biologists, scientists, and educators that are involved with wolves.

Another great "scientific and biological" resource is the canid site by the IUCN (world wide authority and biologists with wildlife). This site covers all canids throughout the world and has the latest studies on a specific species and will direct you towards other reliable resources. ... =0#p853535

I was reading recently about yellowstone wolves inter-breeding with coyotes to a dangerous degree. Is it true that wolf blood is becoming diluted? I would love to learn more about this.
CLBaileyi wrote:I asked Dave Mech (wolf expert) about this-he has not heard of any research or anything about wolves and coyotes interbreeding in Yellowstone. I would be very interested in knowing where you might have read this-the only thing that has recently come back into the public eye is the controversy surrounding wolves and coyote hybridization in the Great Lakes region and how that impacts wolf recovery. ... 533#p55533

Wolves have a dog-like structure, so can they eat dog food?
CLBaileyi wrote:Although wolves and dogs are basically the same "animal" (Canis lupus) and the dog is just a domesticated form of the wolf, there are alot of differences between the two in some physical properties.

One of these is their ability to digest food. And, although wolves can and often may eat dog food (scavenge from a house in a remote area, where someone has left food outside for their pet) it does not have the nutritional makeup to be healthy. Often they get quite loose stool and an upset stomach. The protein and other components of the diet are not of the right mixture. ... 16#p691016

How long wolves sleep on average?
CLBaileyi wrote:There is no certain "amount" of time that wolves can be found sleeping. It all depends on a variety of things-food needs, ability to conserve energy, etc. ... 61#p601561

I know that dogs are descendents, and that dogs CAN get cancer, but can wolves?
CLBaileyi wrote:Wolves get pretty much the same diseases that dogs get. The one thing to say is that wolves are more resiliant to many injuries (bite wounds, fractures, etc) and often can survive without any assistance from humans-especially when in the wild. Also, we will vaccinate them in captivity with the same vaccines that we use on our own dogs. ... 75#p601475

I know that wolves howl, yelp, huff, and use there body like sign laguage but do they bark?
CLBaileyi wrote:Actually wolves may bark for a variety of reasons. However, the most common bark is often called the "alarm bark" by some, and is usually given when they are feeling defensive or protective-at a den site when a predator may arrive (such as a zookeeper entering the enclosure when pups are present, when a new person or strange animal is in the area, etc). ... 00#p534600

Are white gray wolves rare?
CLBaileyi wrote:Arctic wolves are a subspecies of gray wolf. Look at the About Wolf section to the left of the page, and then under Wolf Information. All of the sub-species pages have photos of the wolf on the page.

All of the other sub-species of gray wolves can have their coat color fade as they get older and therefore appear "white". However, the build of the other four subspecies is quite a bit different than the arctic subspecies. Also, white color is not the same as being an albino (again, this has been discussed on other threads in the forum). ... 15#p393883

Why do people still think that there is only the arctic wolf that is white?
CLBaileyi wrote:Most people are more familiar with the arctic wolf color phase, and not many photographers have images of the older, faded "white" wolves. There was a wolf in Yellowstone that was quite famous as being the "white wolf"-she was just older and the color of her pelt had faded over time. We also have several Mexican wolves in captivity that are nearly white, or very faded gray in appearance. ... 30#p399148

Could a female wolf and her pup join a wolf pack?
CLBaileyi wrote:An adult and pup being accepted into a strange pack. As others have said, it is unusual, but it does happen. I think the thing to remember is that, especially in cases where one of the breeding pair is missing (killed, died, etc) then a pack will often allow another adult and that animal's offspring to join into the new pack. This has happened several times in the Mexican wolf program, and others as well. ... 4#p1443883

I know woves lick muzzle of the other to:
-Ask about food (only in pups)

And for what more they use that?
CLBaileyi wrote:As the two previous people mentioned, the muzzle lick behavior is a crucial behavior in maintaining pack cohesiveness (bond) in canids. African wild dogs are the premier of social canids and this behavior of bonding has caused their dramatic decline due to disease transmission (rabies and parvovirus) in Africa. In addition, the behavior is solicitive in pups to get the adults to regurgitate to them, and for more submissive animals to show to the breeding pair (or more dominant animals when they exist in unique pack structures in captivity). ... 1#p1141445

I read in the book Never Cry Wolf that on an average of four years, wolves will shed their entire coats. Is this true to Yellowstone wolves as well?
CLBaileyi wrote:I have never heard that particular comment before about the 4 year time period, and I would be interested to know how that fact was made into a statement.

Anyway, wolves shed more in the spring, or when they move from colder climates to warmer ones (as what may happen with captive animals moving from one facility to another). They do not appear to all go through the shedding cycle at the same time (some shed out earlier than others) and some shed out in certain sequences (head, ruff around the head, body, hips, shoulders, tail). In Minnesota, some of the wolves at the zoo began to shed in late March and continued into late June. Others were still shedding in July.

The thing to remember, is that, it is generally the thick undercoat that is lost when people way "they shed". The guard hairs generally are not lost in large enough sections to be noticed by people, but they are lost as well throughout the year. ... 94#p570768

I was curious if anyone could make a list of careers involving wolves, see if I may broaden my horizons career-wise.
CLBaileyi wrote:I'll take a stab at this: if others see/think of something that I have forgotten, just add to it. I also know we have tackled this topic in the past here at WQ, so you might do a search.

Field biologist
Reproductive biologist
Wildlife Manager (i.e. what we have here in MN and several other states where wolves are making a comeback)
USDA (depredation specialist investigating livestock losses caused by wolves or other wildlife)
Education specialist
Veterinary technician
Conservation biologist

Basically, your education requirements are going to vary, depending on the specific career. For most zookeeping jobs, a four year degree in one of the sciences is a must, for some of the field biologist positions they are now wanting more-a Masters or above. It really does vary from one part of the country to another as well. Check out your local zoo or DNR for more information. ... 21#p378095

I've always wondered, is yelling at a wolf a bad action? Can you provoke the wolves in some way?
CLBaileyi wrote:Blindseer says:
you DONT yell at the wolves to make them go away, because you dont need to make them go away. it would be a waste of time an energy.
Actually, I am going to have to disagree with you. Wolves, like many animals, are oportunistic in many circumstances and any encounter with a wolf that approaches you-out of aggression or curiosity-should be discouraged. One way to do so, it to make yourself appear large, be loud and try and make them "think twice" about approaching you. I am not saying that wolves are always curious about humans or will always be approaching in an aggressive manner, but it is not totally unheard of in the wild.

Certainly, in captivity, this is done to keep them afraid and wary of humans-especially any wolf that may be reintroduced into the wild (like the Mexican wolf program-this is a topic that could be a topic all by itself). We do this, whether they approach us outside of the enclosure or inside of it. Again, unless you have a unique situation (as IWC and a few other places), it is the common "safety practice" to keep the wolves away from the humans, especially when some wolves will still get curious (over time) about their caretakers and it can be a situation that can get out of hand quickly.
CLBaileyi wrote:
and, considering you would technically be attacking it, it would most likely retaliate.
Again, wolves don't live in the world we do or think in the same manner as humans. Using anything to throw at them is not going to have them "retaliate". Actually, it is common practice to "haze" or keep wolves away from humans, by using rubber bullets or other things by the field team. This has been done in Yellowstone, and the red and mexican wolf reintroduction programs, and has had some effect to keep wolves away from humans, without them "attacking" the field team. ... 15#p386261 ... 30#p393860

When you are in high school, what should you be doing to attempt a career with wolves, and the sciences? Such as; what courses should you take, and what extracurricular activities should you do to prepare for college and jobs?
canis007 wrote:When I was in high school I was active in an environmental conservation club mainly because environmental issues were a huge interest to me, and not necessarily because I thought it was my career path. But looking back I guess I do see at as one of the first steps I took on my career as a wildlife biologist. So I'd recommend getting involved in a similar type of club at your school mainly to educate yourself about all the current environmental issues and develop your interest further. I also took an advanced placement biology course, which came in handy once I started college. ... 5#p1566561

Why do wolf packs, or other wolves, if they are the opposite gender, why do they react aggressive towards lone wolves?
canis007 wrote:Aggression can occur within the same pack or between packs, or in the example you raised between a pack and a lone wolf. In all cases, aggression is mainly motivated by competition for food and the opportunity to breed. Among wolves in the same pack, aggression can also be mistaken for play behavior which is common among younger wolves, and sometimes between parents and their offspring. ... 5#p1566561

Kiowa, a yearling female, was sitting off in the corner of the enclosure by herself and continuously letting out a series very high-pitched howls. The two male wolves in the enclosure with her were laying off by themselves, paying her yowling no attention. This seemed unusual to me, since howling was usually something the three of them all enjoyed together. The female's howling also seemed a bit odd to me--I'd heard her howl before, but never like that. So I walked closer, sat down on the other side of the fence, and howled with her. This went on for a solid five minutes, and her howls never changed from the whiny, breathy, high-pitched tone. My question is this...why would she have been howling like that? That one event remains the only time I have ever seen her howling by herself, and her howl was different from her usual tone.
canis007 wrote:It's hard to be sure about this since I didn't witness it myself, but your description suggests to me that Kiowa may have been howling in that unusual way because she was stressed for some reason. Not sure what else would explain it. ... 5#p1566584

In a normal wolf pack consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring, if one of the breeding parents died, what would happen? Would the remaining wolf seek out a new mate from outside the territory, or would the pack began to break down?
canis007 wrote:Excellent question. Both of the outcomes you describe are possible, but I'm not sure if one is more common than the other. If this is a topic that interests you I'd recommend you take a look at a study on this topic that is available at ... 5#p1566584

I get a bit confused with the social structure of a wild wolf pack when it comes to the dominants; Does the dominant pair actually 'lead' (or even command..?) their pack, or are they just the most dominant ones, etc? I know the dominant pair are what their title is: the most dominant as well as the only breeding pair, and I know they have the most social freedom (as I have read) but I was a bit curious on if they really did lead the pack and such..
canis007 wrote:Another good question. Yes, the dominant breeding pair tend to be the primary leaders of pack activity which can include traveling, hunting, chasing after rival packs, etc. But sometimes other wolves will lead the charge with the breeding pair trailing behind. It often depends on the age of the breeding pair as well as the age of the rest of the wolves in the pack. For more information on this topic check out these studies: ... no=z02-124 ... no=z99-099 ... 5#p1566596

Do wolves cache a lot of meat, and do packs take meat from a kill back to the den?
canis007 wrote:Yes, wolves do cache meat and they also do deliver meat from a kill to the den. Wolves living in places where prey are scarce, such as in the High Arctic, seem to cache more than wolves living in areas where prey are abundant, such as Yellowstone National Park. This probably reflects how the incentive to store meat away for later consumption is greater when the likelihood of finding another prey is low.

More information on caching is available in these studies: ... cookie=yes ... 5#p1566612

When are wolves most active? Or do they live a randomly schedualed (or however you spell it) day/night?
canis007 wrote:In Yellowstone National Park, where I've spent the most time watching, wolves tend to be most active early in the morning and again in the evening with a lull during mid-day when daytime temperatures are highest. Cana will post a graphic from my master thesis that illustrates this pattern. Image ... 0#p1566640

If you became a veterinarian in exotics, would it be possible to work with wolves, such as in a zoo of some sort? I know it would take a while but is it possible in that branch of veterinary medicine?
canis007 wrote:Yes, veterinarians do work with wolves in captive facilities such as zoos, and also wolves in the wild. Wildlife veterinarians often work alongside researchers to capture, measure, and mark a variety of wild animals, including wolves. ... 0#p1566652

If a dominant wolf decided to leave the pack, would it? Or would it just never leave it's pack, since it is a dominant and all?
canis007 wrote:No, a dominant wolf would generally not permanently leave its pack. ... 0#p1566666

Is It Possible for a Dominant To Have a Pair, but Not the other Dominant?
canis007 wrote:Members of a breeding pair typically mate with only each other, but in packs where one member of the pair is unrelated to another adult in the pack, then it's not unusual for the two to also mate. ... 5#p1566686

When a wolf pack wakes up from sleep, do they all wake up around the same time? If so, what if one where to not wake up at the same time as another, would they assume it to be dead?
canis007 wrote:Great question. It's not unusual for wolves to wake up at different times, and when I've seen this happen in Yellowstone I've never had the impression that the earlier risers assume the late birds are dead, but of course it's impossible to know for sure. I think if a wolf were to die for some reason, say because of disease or an injury, the other wolves would catch on pretty quick once the pack started moving off and the dead wolf failed to follow. On the other hand, it's also not uncommon for wolves, often younger ones, to remain asleep as the rest of the pack travels off. When that happens, the stranded wolf will find it's pack by scent or by howling. ... 5#p1566717

Why do wolves eye colors change from when there a pup (from blue to different color like yellow, amber, etc.)?
canis007 wrote:I believe the eye color change is due to increased production of melanin by melanocytes, which are cells in the iris of the eye. ... 0#p1566744

Would it be possible that if a wolf pack was killed and only the pups lived that the attacking pack would take the pups in or would they just kill the pups since they are from a different pack?
canis007 wrote:It’s possible that an “attacking pack” might adopt orphaned pups, but I think it’s more likely the pups – assuming they’re quite young – would either be killed or – if undetected – starve. ... 0#p1614618

Do wolves eat/lick flowers? If so, why? That sounds weird, but I've heard stories about wolves doing eating them before, and we even had a slight discussion about it on here.
canis007 wrote:I’m not aware of any information that wolves eat/lick flowers. ... 0#p1614618

I've heard and seen foxes change their fur color according to season (e.g. white fur in winter, brown in the summer), is this fact the same for wolves?
canis007 wrote:Wolf coat color does not change seasonally, but it does change with age, i.e. it tends to turn gray/white similar to what aging humans experience. ... 0#p1614618

I'm going to apply for the University of Guelph (A university well known for animal studies in Ontario, Canada.) for Zoology. I've been thinking of specializing into animal behaviour, but I am unsure what exactly that entails. When I specialize, can I just work with one type of animal and study their behaviour? Or do I have to study a wide variety of animals on a certain behaviour? (ie: food aggression or mating rituals/habits) And what courses would I have to take in university so I will have a solid background? I'm thinking of majoring in Zoology, but what would be your recommendation to minor in? Ecology?
canis007 wrote:University of Guelph is a great school with a strong graduate program in animal behavior and ecology. As a graduate student, both scenarios you describe are viable options. However, this is something you will decide in consultation with your graduate advisor, who is a faculty member in the department to which you apply. If you’re interested in a research career in ecology/behavior, I recommend taking courses in mathematics (e.g., probability, calculus) and statistics. ... 0#p1614618

How long does it take for a female/male wolf to form a bond with the oposite sex wolf, as in becoming mates? Seeing as most wolves that don't know each other would fight, is there just something about some wolves that refrain them from fighting?
canis007 wrote:I’m not aware of any data on this, but from my experience with the Yellowstone wolf population, I’d say that a bond could be established within a day if the circumstances are right, e.g., no interference from other wolves. ... 0#p1614618

Could you give a brief description of what it's like to be a wolf biologist? Perhaps more specifically, how much of your work hours are put into fieldwork, teaching, document writing, and the such?
canis007 wrote:50% office work, 40% teaching, 10% field work ... 0#p1614618

Are coyotes a real threat to wolf pups? And if so, what are the main reasons that the coyotes try to go after them?
canis007 wrote:Coyotes will kill wolf pups if the opportunity presents itself. ... 0#p1614618

What sort of animals enjoy eating adult wolves?
canis007 wrote:None that I’m aware of. But I have seen ravens & magpies scavenge wolf carcasses. ... 0#p1614618

How can a human choose a mate for a wolf? Or start the wolf pack for them?
CLBaileyi wrote:Often, if a zoo is going to breed wolves, they start with an unrelated male and female wolf. Sometimes "temperament" is taken into consideration in making a pairing, but often a pair is brought into the zoo and housed next to one another for a day or two (after finishing a 30 day quarantine period) before being allowed full, physical contact with one another. Due to the social nature of wolves, it is rare for a single male and single female not to have a smooth introduction, but we can never say "always or never". The earlier that you put a pair together, the better your chances at producing a litter will be. For instance, with the Mexican Wolf SSP, our pairings are done in October/early November if we hope to breed in March. There are always reasons a pair won't reproduce, so a full reproductive exam is always important to rule out any physical reasons to prevent a pair to produce a litter.

Many zoos do not breed wolves though due to space limitations and limitations with managing the social behavior issues that may happen as the wolves get older. This is one reason why most zoos have a single, non-breeding pair of animals or a single sex group of wolves that are often neutered. The neutering will sometimes dimish some of the aggression that can occur in a pack, where the ability of the subordinate animal to leave (disperse) isn't possible. Remember, wolves are extremely territorial and introducing a lone female that is being excessively dominated in one pack to another group of females can be difficult, if not impossible (depending on the group). Wolves can live 14+ years in captivity and finding enough homes for all of the pups can be difficult.

As far as wolves being released into the wild, yes, that does happen in the Mexican Gray and Red Wolf SSP programs. The wolves selected for release are chosen on a variety of criteria, and released when it is appropriate into a site that is chosen by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The wolves that were released into Yellowstone NP and Idaho, were wild wolves that were captured in Canada and brought into the US.

The wolves on the Minnesota Trail are an unrelated pair, where it is hoped that they will breed. Right now, breeding is being considered because there are several other zoos looking for replacement wolves for their exhibits. The male was born in 1996 and came to Minnesota from another zoo in Wisconsin. The female was born in 2000 and came from a zoo in California. The female is darker in color than the male, and smaller in size.
" Many people think that conservation is just saving fluffy animals - what they don't realize is that conservation is war to prevent the human race from committing suicide. " Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) ... 19&p=20357

So, what's the best way to go about becoming a wolf biologist, or a biologist in general? Any tips that you can give me, such as what classes to take, internships, good wildlife groups, etc?
CLBaileyi wrote:All of Dave's suggestions should be taken to is how many I know have gotten into the "wolf game"-either in captivity or the working with them in the wild. It is a career of science and math.

My personal experience began when I started working with animals in a vet hospital through high school and parts of college. I have a chicken degree in animal behavior and biology from Cornell College, and spent extra coursework in conservation biology and wildlife management. After college, I began an internship at the Minnesota Zoo and was hired during the middle of my internship. I have worked on the Northern Trail with a variety of wolves since 1991. I made contacts with as many wildlife people that I could to gain field experience, and was able to work on a Masters field project in Yellowstone studing den behavior of 3 different packs. I have worked on the Mexican Wolf project in the southwest doing predation data collection and education. I have also observed Wildlife Services in determining the cause of livestock depredation in MN, and set traps to catch wolves. I also have had the opportunity to participate in wolf research in a captive facility in MN, where I learned how to draw blood, capture animals, and other research procedures.

Alot of what I have found is, is that it is very important to gain "hands on" experiences if you want to work with wolves in the wild. Most of these positions are not paid, or the pay is minimum wage. If you are interested in working with wolves in a zoo or reserve, doing an internship is the best experience you could get. ... 364#p20364

Since a wolf pack is not a hierarchy but just a family why are there packs that have these so called "Ome-gas" or scapegoats, if you will. Do all packs have these certain wolves that are picked on or what?
CLBaileyi wrote:The term "O-mega" and "scapegoat" have been used for over 30 years, and it can be difficult to change our terminology in wolf behavior. Again, most of the early studies in wolf behavior was done with captive animals that were not necessarily maintained in a true "wild wolf pack" formation (i.e. there are all one sex or the other, or one animal of one sex with the remaining pack members of the opposite sex). Also, as captive managers, we assembled these groups with our preferences in mind-not what you would find to occur in a wild wolf pack.

Dominance and submission occur in any pack. Sometimes it can be easy to "jump to conclusions" when observing animals and even let our emotions play a role in the interpretation of the behaviors. As far as the post by wolf567, I think it would be easy to say that the wolf was "angry" and not necessarily understand all of the dynamics of what happened in the pack before the interaction. To quote Dave Mech: "I occasionally saw intense "pinning" of a 2-year-old female by her mother in summer 1994 that some might label "hostile". However, to me this behavior appeared to be merely the type of interaction I observed between the mother and an errant pup she could not control." The dominant and submissive displays are used to constantly remind all pack members "who is who" and the relationship between one another.

For the post by ChocolateRain, I would again say that the hierarchy can be used to discuss captive packs, where the pack is not a "naturally structured" pack as it might be if they lived in the wild. We certainly see this behavior with our Mexican Gray wolves at the zoo, but again, our pack is a group of all males, that are from two separate litter. Last season (during the breeding season when we had 3 female wolves in the group) we did see some intense change-over in the group and more subordinate male became more dominant over his brother. Some may call the previously dominant male "o-mega" or scapegoat when they see the interactions between the two. However, to me, I see one wolf who is showing very clearly to another wolf-"who is dominant and who is subordinate". Nearly all of the interactions between wolves are more display with postures, facial expressions, etc. that actual physical harm. Granted, wolves certainly can kill one another, but this rarely happens. Since 1991 when I started working with the wolves, I would say we only had 1 case where the dominance might be considered excessive and we split the group. Again, in that situation, it was an "artificial grouping" and due to the situations of captivity, we could not allow her to disperse as she would do if she was in the wild. ... 927#p25927

I was watching MythBusters the other day, and they used wolf urine to scare away a guard dog. it worked would you get wolf pee?
CLBaileyi wrote:It is actually pretty easy to collect urine from the wolves-we do it all the time to check their health when we have concerns or are just doing their regular checks. We get them to run into our off-exhibit area where there is concrete instead of dirt. They usually will provide us with a sample within a half hour and we collect it with a syringe from the vet hospital. I even know of a zoo that designed a tube on the wall of a building where the wolves liked to mark and then had a container on the other side of the wall to collect the urine. Zookeepers have to get creative sometimes.
What sort of things would you find in a wolf habitat?
CLBaileyi wrote:For the Mexican wolf, the habitat is mixed oak and pine forest in higher elevations (4-10000 feet). Gray wolves in the Great Lakes regions can be found in mixed deciduous forest and coniferous forests-birch, pine, maple, oak, aspen, etc. ... 434#p28434

Puppies/pups is the correct term for wolf offspring, but why do people use the term 'cubs'?
CLBaileyi wrote:Generally speaking, in the US, biologists usually call young wolves pups. In Europe and Asia, most often they are called cubs. Yes, this can be very confusing at times. ... 687#p30687

What do wolf biologists do exactly?
CLBaileyi wrote:As far as a job in a captive situation, things can vary quite a bit on what you do and don't do, depending on the type of group you have.

For example, my average day with the 4 male Mexican gray wolves involves a short amount of time to spend in the off-exhibit wolf area to clean and put in the diet (5-30 minutes depending on a few things) and then time during the day to do some observations on the social stuff that occurs in the pack. Some days, things are generally pretty quiet but during the breeding season (hormones starting in late Nov-April) things can become more active and more time might be spent watching the dynamics of the group and looking at injuries. The majority of the time, things are fairly routine but they can escalate quite quickly, so knowing all of the changes and what lead to the changes, is very important to know when deciding what your management might be (keep the group together and let them settle it or separate out an animal). There are also annual exams that take place in the fall, where we get our hands on the wolves and do routine vet care (vaccinations, weights, etc). When we get a breeding recommendation for the group, things become even more complicated with the upcoming litter and all the stuff that goes with that.

Wolf keepers are also involved quite often with education events and tours due to the fact wolves are very high profile and the high level of interest that goes with them. Lastly, we do some enrichment with the pack to encourage natural behavior whenever possible.

Working in a zoo or wildlife facility can vary quite a bit with salary and species you are assigned. Here, I work with the wolves, but I also work with a variety of other hoofstock species in the work area. Depending on the facility, you may just work hoofstock, carnivores, birds, primates, or you may work everything. Zoo careers are becoming more popular, but the competition is very high in some areas of the country and at certain zoos.
CLBaileyi wrote:Most of the jobs with wolves in the field involve a background in either biology or wildlife management. Pretty much all of them got some experience by volunteering or working for a small amount of money per day ($10-15/day). For example, the Mexican gray wolf program has a program for many graduates/undergrads that are needing some experience before being able to get a full-time job in wildlife work.

Also, there is a program in northern MN that does the same ( and many of the people who are currently the "who's who" in the wolf world have done work at the K lab in Ely.

The daily work varies quite a bit-depending on what you are working on-setting traps for collaring animals, research on locations, prey remains, scat (poo) patrol, etc. Each wolf project has a variety of stuff in it-most days are varied with long hours, no regular 9-5 for these guys. Usually, no weekends off, but it can vary quite a bit depending on what you are working on at the time. ... 200#p36374 ... 200#p43212

What jobs are there in wolf conservation?
CLBaileyi wrote:Most of the jobs with wolves in the field involve a background in either biology or wildlife management. Pretty much all of them got some experience by volunteering or working for a small amount of money per day ($10-15/day). For example, the Mexican gray wolf program has a program for many graduates/undergrads that are needing some experience before being able to get a full-time job in wildlife work. Also, there is a program in northern MN that does the same ( and many of the people who are currently the "who's who" in the wolf world have done work at the K lab in Ely.
There are many different careers in wolf conservation-education dept. in a zoo or wildlife center; field biologist; reproductive specialist with wolves and other endangered canines (dogs); zookeeper; biologist in the state or fed. government-DNR,USFWS, Dept. of Agriculture to name a few; start an organization to protect endangered wolves; animal behavor specialist; wildlife vet for a reintroduction project; vet tech; leading tours in areas with wolves (ecotourism); and the list goes on and on.
CLBaileyi wrote:I don't know of any wildlife field work that would involve a high school student. Pretty much everything would involve college level or other-basically, alot of it is because of liability and the type of work is a bit much for any high school student to be able to do.

As far as other volunteering, i.e. zoo, captive stuff-I would hit the zoo volunteer/intern end of things. Every zoo is different, and very few would allow anyone under 18 access to the animals (wolves) for a whole bunch of reasons-many are the same reasons I listed above. Also, many people end up working at other facilities than the one that is in their home town. I hope this makes sense and helps answer your question. ... 624#p38624 ... 622#p50500 ... 622#p59622

I`ve heard that some keepers of captive wolves feed birth control to their female alpha wolf so that she cannot have puppies in order to keep the captive wolf population down. Do a lot of keepers do this? I`ve also heard that many zoos spay their alpha females for this reason and as a means to help control aggression in captive packs.
CLBaileyi wrote:Because gray wolves breed very easily in captivity, most zoos do control breeding in one way or another. We tried to use an implant called "Deslorelin" to prevent breeding and maintain a larger group in a larger enclosure for our Mexican gray wolves. For a variety of reasons though, it didn't work.

Some of the other ways of controlling breeding have been mentioned. Most zoos that have gray wolves only have a single sex group of wolves for that reason. Also, some will spay or neuter one sex or the other to prevent breeding or to minimize aggression (we had done that with our plains wolves).

Many of the other implants or "pills" can have alot of negative side effects, so they are not used for long periods of time, or are not used at all anymore. This is an important problem for most zoos to try and solve. ... 19&p=45223

Do wolves kill/attack humans?
CLBaileyi wrote:To answer the question of wolves attacking and killing humans in North America, Europe, and Asia by Songdog: In addition to the link provided by the WQ Coordinator, please see another article that addresses this topic:

For the most current information re: this behavior, I would also recommend visiting the International Wolf Center's As someone who has worked with the IWC for over 10 years, they provide the most current information re: wolves on the Internet due to the fact they have ties and access to wolf biologists all over the world that some other websites don't have. Again, just the opinion of someone who has worked with wolves and educated people about them for over 20 years.
CLBaileyi wrote:I have had the opportunity to discuss wolf attacks on people with some of the people who have done investigating of the cases and there can be many reasons for the "attacks".

Sometimes, the wolves have become habituated to humans and become less fearful and more attracted to areas with humans. Sometimes, wolves that had once been owned by humans have been released by their owners and have bitten/killed people. Sometimes, the wolf is rabid. Sometimes, people will corner or limit a safe retreat for wolves and they may get bitten. For the cases in India, see the IWC site for specifics. As the WQ coordinator mentioned before (from the IWC website),
Nonetheless, like bears and cougars, wolves are
instinctive, wild predators better kept at a
respectful distance. ... 325#p48325 ... 325#p51232

If there was a thunderstorm, would a wolf act as many domestic dogs do, and panic, or would they stay calm and not bothered? I wouldn't be surprised if pups and less experienced wolves got frightened, but has there ever been observations of behaviour in storms?
CLBaileyi wrote:Our adult wolves at the zoo don't seem to be too bothered with strong storms or thunder sounds. They just curl up or seek shelter in a den/area near the fallen trees. I haven't even seen them go into our artificial den during storms, but they just hang out near the base of trees. Sometimes young pups run like the wind to get back into the den, but usually by late summer/ they stay with the adults.[/url] ... 761#p69761 ... 15#p125494 ... 15#p125721

What is the largest wolf pack ever recorded?
CLBaileyi wrote:There have been reports of 38-39 wolves in the Druid pack in 2001 in Yellowstone NP. As someone else has mentioned, in many cases, when the packs get to this size, there is eventually some major disperal action that occurs. I am still looking through some of my Alaska and Canada research papers to see if they have ever confirmed more than 40.
Just thought you would like to know that the largest wolf pack in MN was 22-23 animals. See the link: ... a_pack.htm ... 984#p87984 ... 984#p88580

What is the most likely reason a dominant wolf and or wolf in general would kill another wolf?
CLBaileyi wrote:This is a very interesting question. First of all, it is rare for one pack member to kill another pack member, but of course it may happen. A wolf pack with constant conflict is usually going to end up with animals dispersing from the main pack, and in turn find a mate and start their own pack and find some territory space to slowly expand into and maintain possession of. This has been seen in some of the giant packs in Yellowstone-20+ for more than a year or two.

Fatal injuries are usually more common in "between pack" territorial battles-one pack against another pack, one pack against a single/small group of "intruding" wolves, when the value and possesion of a territory is at stake.

I guess I have never heard of a wild wolf being killed over food (if they were pack members to begin with) or during mating. This doesn't mean that there won't be challenges or wolves fighting with one another.

In captivity, you might see fatal injuries occur more often due to the structure of the pack (same sex, no parent and sibling ratio kind of thing-all brothers/all sisters) as well as the inability to allow the dominated animal to disperse on its own terms. However, it is our priority and responsibility to constantly be observing the captive pack to prevent such serious injuries to occur in the first place. This is why daily observations and knowledge of the individuals and wolf behavior in general is so important to a wolf keeper/manager. Sometimes there are certain things we can do to minimize the dominance and help a single animal "weather the storm" a little bit better. ... 170#p98170

In dogs, their "ideal" breeding age is I believe 2 to about 5 years old. Obviously, they can breed younger. Does this hold true to wolves as well?
CLBaileyi wrote:There have been cases of 10 month old wolves breeding. Generally speaking, by the time a wolf is 10-12 years old in the wild it is pretty old, but I am unsure as to the oldest case of a wild wolf producing a litter. I will try and do some checking for you. In captivity, we have had 14 year old animals reproduce a normal size litter without any problems. ... 60#p102260

Have there ever been reports of a white wolf pup?
CLBaileyi wrote:To answer the question about "white pups". Generally speaking, all subspecies of gray wolves have pups that are dark furred when born. This can change in about 3-4 weeks. This is the age (or older) when most photos are taken of the "white pups".

For more information about pups and pup development, go to: ... opment.asp ... 66#p102266

I watched a program called Animal Park, it is based on Longleat Safari Park. Anyway, their dominant female was expecting pups very soon and they wanted to know where the den was because they have had problems in the past. So they were driving through the part they where in and the dominant male and the rest of the pack started attacking the vehicle, so they drove off and watched from a distance and then the alpha female came up from the den. Would wild wolves do this, attack anything that gets near the site of the den even if the pups hadent been born yet?
CLBaileyi wrote:Generally, wolves in the wild would not exhibit such bold behavior (unless there was some underlying habituation that had occurred or if they were released pet wolves). Wolves are very protective of their den, but also have a very strong fear of humans (generally speaking).

Let's say you were in Yellowstone and happened to be hiking around the mountains. If a den was nearby, there might be some anxiety by the pack (pacing/nervous behavior) and some alarm barks, but that would most likely be the extent of it. I have worked with field teams that have searched for dens (before the pups would be able to leave the immediate area) and the field staff are able to enter the den with pups present without any fear for their safety by "being attacked" by the adults. Again, the other pack members are going to be nervous and anxious about it, but that is about the extent of their behavior.

When we have had pups here at the zoo, we generally don't enter the exhibit about 2 weeks before whelping (when the female is going to have the pups) and we wait until the pups are out of the den at about 3 weeks of age. That first time we enter the enclosure, the pack/breeding pair is very nervous (pacing/etc) with some alarm barks but that has been the extent of it. We are always aware though of the behavior and carry tools with us just to be safe. With our Mexican wolf pack, they are extremely fearful of staff when we are in the enclosure-running away as fast as they can-even when there are pups present...the nature of the beast. We take great care to negatively reinforce any type of behavior that might lead to them thinking humans are "safe" or something to approach. ... 25#p103025

Do blind wolves exist in the wild alive?
CLBaileyi wrote:Zea stated:
CLBaileyi wrote:Actually blind wolves do survive quite well in the wild. They may not be able to see but with their amazing sense of smell and hearing you would never have guessed they were blind in the first place. Blind wolves in packs survive exceedingly well, and are just like any other pack member. I read a book on it a long time ago.

I am very curious what type of book you read this in-a story or a natural history/biologist written book. I have never read of it except in fiction books (which I have to admit I question their biological basis for statements quite a bit at times-depending of course on the statement and the book story line). I know of no studies where they have determined that a completely bind wolf being able to survive for any significant period of time in the wild. It has happened with single wolves in captivity without doubt, but that is a unique situation. A wolf that has some limited vision could potentially survive in the wild with a pack. Although their sight is not their most relied on sense for survival, it still has value when combined with all of the senses an animal needs to survive in the wild.

Just as a side note, we do know of 3-legged wolves (missing either a front or back leg) do survive in the wild in pack situations very well. It has been documented on several occasions.
CLBaileyi wrote:Blindseer wrote:
CLBaileyi wrote:yes, but the wolf cant see the trees, ground, etc. and the wolf also cant see the prey or where to bite.

it can tell relative location, but not much more than that.
Blindseer-I am interested in where you got the idea that a wolf can't see the trees, ground or the prey and where they are biting. I would question those ideas quite a bit. Although the sense of sight is not the strongest sense for wolves, they certainly can see the things you listed above-just wondering if I mis-understood you or where you could show me where you got the information above. With cateracts, any animal will have difficulty in seeing objects and have poor vision. ... 15#p112045 ... 99#p125499

When wolves are raised by hand at a young age, what will they become (e.g. shy dogs, tame wolves, etc.)?
CLBaileyi wrote:Just because you may raise a wolf pup on a bottle from an early age, it will not make them tame or domesticated. They still have all of the behaviors found with wolves-just the change in who receives the behavior (from the hand raised wolf to human rather than hand raised wolf to another wolf in it's pack). They do not lose their fear of humans, which is why it is such a challenge to do it properly and to generalize them as much as possible to many people that is safe to do.

This information comes from actual doing the raising of wolf pups-not just reading about it.
CLBaileyi wrote:It seems like I didn't make some of my comments re: this issue clear enough, and for that I apologize...sometimes I get rushed and don't explain things clearly enough.

RE: the statement "They do no lose their fear of humans". This was probably used in too broad of a statement. What I meant to say is that they are still wolves-not tame or domesticated like the dog. When you do hand-raise wolf pups, it can be difficult to ensure that the pups will generalize to all people in the same way (i.e. be extremely comfortable and relaxed to EVERYONE in the same way). The way they behave with the people who raised them or works with them on a daily basis is not going to be the same as someone who is just walking by an enclosure or pen. They can still get spooked or nervous with new people. They are NOT going to run up to just any person off the street with the same greeting behavior they may show the people who regularily care for them or raised them.

Our wolves on the MN trail is an example. Our female was hand raised at another facility, and although she may be comfortable with the staff that take care of her on a daily basis, other strangers that come near the enclosure are reacted to in a fearful way-they will run away, etc. Although they may be afraid or nervous, they still may become more bold towards humans in many circumstances-especially in close quarters-which can be understood to be "unafraid of humans".

I guess I was trying to explain too many things in one sentence and for that I am sorry for the confusion between my comments and those from IWC. I hope this is more clear-if not, I am sorry again and will try in another post. ... 56#p165156 ... 56#p166474

Are wolves both scavengers and hunters? or do they always hunt for their food?
CLBaileyi wrote:When I worked on a predation study with the Mexican wolf program, one of the things we often found with the GPS locations, was that wolves would spend several hours at a former kill site-scavenging off of other kills. Sometimes these "bone yards" would be older than 2-3 months, but the wolves would be known to return to past kill sites that existed within their territory. It was really interesting to see the remains, as well as evidence of other carnivores/scavengers. ... 25#p185025

If a wolf gets hurt in a pack, will the pack leave them behind, or will they help the injured wolf?
CLBaileyi wrote:There is alot of observational data out there about wolf behavior with other pack members when one wolf gets injured. It can be difficult though to really know "why" they do what they do.

As others have reported-wolves have been known to bring food to injured pack members that had difficulty or inability to keep up with the rest of the pack; grooming one member that was seriously injured; etc. However, it is important as a biologist NOT to put our emotions on WHY the wolves are doing what they are doing-this can be hardest, even for the best of the best. ... 18#p199018

What kind of baby formula do keepers feed wolf puppies? And what kinds of things do the keepers add to the pups' food, such as vitamins/minerals?
CLBaileyi wrote:There are several different formulas out there that have been used successfully to hand raise, or supplement wolf puppies. For example, many use Esbilac as a base, but you have to be careful because of some of the contents that can cause eye problems, if it isn't modified. Others can be very fancy, involving 3-4 different dry mixes to put together to simulate wolf milk protein, fat, and all of the other important vitamins and minerals for a growing wolf pup. ... 35#p199035

If the wolf population grew and spread even further to places like Nevada, California, etc. Would there be adaption? Or would population decrease?
CLBaileyi wrote:There were many different things brought to light with this topic, so I'll try to give you some answers to your comments:

As some have mentioned, each state is responsible for their own wolf population IF they are in a DPS where the wolf is delisted. In other areas where wolves are NOT delisted, the responsiblity for management lies with US Fish andWildlife Service.

Wolves are naturally migratory, in order to find enough food and habitat in order to maintain the pack. That said, in previous times, wolves from the Rockies did probably interbreed with the Mexican wolves. This is something that is still being looked at, say, if wolves were to be re-established into the Southern Rocky mountains-what subspecies to us? Mexican gray wolves or Northwestern gray wolves. There had been NO decision at this time to do so, just something that has been discussed in the early 2000's. Right now though, in areas of their range in Arizona and New Mexico, it has been important to us in the captive breeding community to use only known PURE, Mexican gray wolves. Anything else is not tolerated or used in the recovery project. The breeding between all of the wolves, in captivity and in the wild, is closely monitored and managed. Any hybridization with domestic dogs is also not permitted-especially if it were to know to happen in the wild.

Wolves do kill livestock and in some cases CAN cause significant damage. Some wolves can have their territory right in the middle of livestock calving lots and not do any damage. It varies among the wolves themselves and the other things in their territory.

Wolves are extremely curious animals and are now known to be more tolerant of us than once believed-in MN, we have one pack that dens right in the middle of an artillery training range. They do not just live in the deepest of forests-they live where they think they can survive-near humans or not.

Basically, wolves will survive where wolves are tolerated by humans. The thing we all might want to remember is that not all humans hate wolves, not all ranchers/livestock growers hate wolves; not all humans love wolves...just the way it is. ... 15#p199086

In human beings, doctors can see if an unborn fetus is at risk for any potiential genetic mutations or diseases through a number of different tests and genetic counseling. Because red wolves are so closely related, what kind of measures are taken to ensure that the pups are healthy animals?
CLBaileyi wrote:This is a really good question. Basically though, to do any testing like this, it is very expensive and potentially dangerous to the female because it involves an immobilization to her during the 2 month pregnancy. Also, since wolves develop in the uterus MUCH faster than in humans, not alot can be done or determined in time to make a potential decision.

As far as I am aware-with any of the endangered wolf or canine groups- no genetic testing is done. Mother nature usually has a way of causing a pup to not survive if there are severe physical deformaties, as sometimes that also may happen with humans as well. This is an emotional situation for all involved, but it is what it is. If a pup is born with a severe genetic deformity, the decision to what may happen next is done on a "case by case" basis.

The one thing that CAN be done to try and minimize genetic deformities, is to look at the parents and what they may or may not carry to the pups. NO breeding recommendation would be knowingly be made if there is a chance of future physical problems for a litter. We are at a place right now with most of the endangered wolves that other pairings can be put together rather than one that may potentially be risky to the litter. ... 23#p234223

What is the weirdest thing found in a wolf's stomach?
CLBaileyi wrote:As far as unusual food items in wolves, the Mexican wolves at the Minnesota Zoo like to eat the apples and grapes from plants in their exhibit. They also can be very curious about different plant items as well. Wolves generally don't eat things like metal, etc. since it wouldn't be anything "food" based. They can be very curious about different food items and may be something they try but not eat on a regular basis. Because of this, zoo staff have to be very careful about what plants they may put in an enclosure to make sure it ISN't going to be poisonous to them. Puppies especially are curious about things like plants, sticks, branches, or anything that might be considered food. ... 7&p=234225

How would a dominant wolf punish a subordinate? For that matter, how does a she-wolf punish one of her pups? I've always been told that they grab the subordinate or pup by the scruff of the neck and expose the belly of the junior until it urinates involuntarily, thus showing total submission to the senior. Is this correct?
CLBaileyi wrote:There are many ways that a dominant wolf will exert dominance over other wolves-some very subtle as a stare, lip curl, multiple body postures, etc. Others can be very overt-physical contact with one wolf "pinning" another to the ground, muzzle grab, etc. The IWC has alot of the behaviors listed on their website-they also have a great book of behavior they use in studying wolves for sale in their giftshop.

For example, with dogs, you can use your hand to place over the muzzle of a dog to "dominate" them, similar to the way a wolf will dominate over another wolf-muzzle to muzzle.

I hope that helps explain it. ... 99#p284999

Do wolves use adaptive logic for hunting or do they use the same stratagy for every hunt?
CLBaileyi wrote:Again, read the response from Pawnee and what is said from Dave's book. Wolves will have different strategies/hunting styles depending on what it is they are hunting-even hunting bull elk vs. cow elk will cause them to attack the elk at different points on the body (antler vs. no antler). ... 42#p285042

Is it true that darker colored wolves are more aggressive than wolves with lighter coat colors?
CLBaileyi wrote:In my experience working with black color phase wolves (as well as observing them in the wild and consulting with other wolf zookeepers or caretakers) there is NO connection between color of the wolf and aggression/level of dominance or whatever else you might want to call it (I don't consider aggression and dominance to be identical). There are no scientific studies out there that have proven this fact and the intensity of a behavior is an individual thing and what one animal of one color pelt phase does can't be compared to another. Also, there is no link to predation on livestock/success of killing native prey either.

I hope that answers your question and it is good to be back. ... 56#p377156

Excluding the dominant pair, what role do the other wolves in the pack play?
CLBaileyi wrote:As king1-7 mentions, all pack members participate in the survival of the pack. In captivity, the things that they have to deal with to survive are greatly diminished (shelter, disease, food, humans, other predators, etc). There are no specific "rules" of who eats first ALL of the time, who starts the howling, who cares for the pups at the den, etc. ... 77#p386277

How long is the average lifespan of a wolf?
CLBaileyi wrote:Again, as some have said, this question has been answered before-see king1-7 post on page 1.
Then wolves' lives are sometimes cut shorter,because some pathetic countries are hunting them
A wolf's life span in the wild is affected by many things-not just humans. For example, pup survival is small just due to the fact of survival in the wild without necessarily a huge impact by humans. Other causes of mortality is by disease, lack of food, other wolves or animals, etc. I won't disagree that humans are contributers to wolf mortality, but they are not the only cause.

The thing alot of people may forget is that life is tough out in the wild-just because of survival in the wild-with or without humans. ... 56#p423456

Do wolves mate for life?
CLBaileyi wrote:In most cases, there is a singe breeding pair in a wolf pack. However, Yellowstone wolves have shown us that this is not always the case, but again, Yellowstone is not the same as most other wolf packs in the wild. ... 00#p512800

How many litters can wolves normally have?
CLBaileyi wrote:One more thing to add though, some gray wolves in captivity have bred earlier than two years, and have had litters when they were 13 years old. Again, captivity can provide additional opportunities that wolves would not find in the wild. ... 13#p512813

What diseases can wolves die from?
CLBaileyi wrote:As others have already said, any disease that affects the domestic dog will affect wolves.

Going off of the limited information given, it is too broad to diagnosis the problem. A probable diagnosis could be done by doing a necropsy, if the deaths happened fairly recently and the animals are not too decomposed-virus and chemicals stay in the body for long periods of time-in many tissues.

Another thing-it is NOT uncommon for some people to poison animals that are behind fences, so there is always that as a possibility. Many chemicals can be disguised and easily eaten by an animal. ... 84#p522684

At what approximate age do wolf pups lose their puppy fur?
CLBaileyi wrote:King 1-7 had it right in the reply re: when pups lose their "puppy fuzz" - basically by 6-8 months of age, it can be nearly impossible to tell them apart by their "look" based on coat and not physical size.

I am confused by what you mean by "normal colored" in your last post. There are a variety of coat colors, depending on what subspecies a gray wolf may be, as well as individual differences within the subspecies. All pups are born dark colored, and then change into their coat color as they get older-based on genetics of their parents.

I hope that answers your question. ... 04#p534604

During about what time will a wolf give birth to her offspring? And will male wolves actually eat newborn pups if given/are open to chance?
CLBaileyi wrote:Generally speaking, wolves have pups in late March through mid May. At the Minnesota Zoo, the Great Plains litter of pups were born in mid-late April and the two litters of Mexican grays were born in mid-May.

Re: the male eating the pups, the breeding female usually is very protective of the pups-and usually doesn't allow any other wolf into the den while the pups are vulnerable. On occasion, there has been instances of dens "raided" by other adult wolves-sometimes other females in the pack, sometimes yearlings that are curious. There is a lot of variability with this, but the behavior of the breeding female has a lot to do with intruders coming close to young pups. ... 37#p542437

Are wolves and coyotes related?
CLBaileyi wrote:Wolves and coyotes are both members of the Canine family, but they are not like wolves and dogs in the concept of (closely related). There are some good articles about canine evolution in the Canid specialist group's website: I suggest that you take a look at it to show you how all of them are related to one another.

As far as the hybridization issue re: red wolves, coyotes and wolves, also check out the International Wolf Center's website-or the wolf specialist's website (IUCN Wolf Specialist Group) should get you there. ... 89#p601489

Can wolves bring down a bear? If so how many would it take?
CLBaileyi wrote:Re: the bear issue and wolves. While bears are quite a formidable adversary to deal with, when it comes to pups and protecting them from other predators (even bears), then yes-wolves will increase the intensity of their aggressiveness...certainly more than when defending a carcass. This has been found to occur in Yellowstone in several instances. ... 47#p727047

How well can wolves tolerate heat?
CLBaileyi wrote:Wolves, like most animals, have adaptations in play to help them deal with the habitat and the environment in which they live. It becomes a challenge when you "move" them to an environment that they wouldn't normally be found in.

For example, in captivity, most facilities will change their management or add things to an enclosure to help the wolves "deal" with the heat. Right now, in St. Louis, MO at the Wild Canid Center, it is nearly 110 degrees heat index-none of our wolves would normally be found in this type of climate. However, they are primarily "shed out" of their winter coat, we have ponds or stock tanks in their enclosure, or we even will put up misters for them to walk/lay under. They will also often receive "ice blocks" for enrichment-they eat or lay on them to help with the heat.

They will also adapt their behavior to be more active/eat, etc. in the evenings. We try not to influence their activity level at all during such extreme heat and if we need to do something in an enclosure or a capture, we do it in the early morning hours-6 am for example, rather than even 8 am since the temperature is often too high even when the staff first arrive on their work shift.

If all of the above is done right, the majority of the wolves are fine-older animals are always more suceptable to problems, so we keep an extra look out for them. ... 07#p763107

Are wolf cubs born floppy-eared, just like some dog breeds that have floppy ears when they're puppies? And if they are, from what age forward will their ears straighten out, and is it possible that the other ear will stay lopsided?
CLBaileyi wrote:Song dog has it right, although one of the Mexican gray wolf pups born at the Minnesota Zoo still had flopped over ears at 8 weeks of age. By 10 weeks they were fully erect (thank goodness).

Sometimes trauma can happen to the outer ear and the wolf will then sometimes always have a "floppy ear" (bite wound, etc). I have seen that happen in a variety of gray wolf subspecies in captivity, caused by trauma. ... 10#p763110

Can wolves get ticks?
CLBaileyi wrote:Yes, wolves get ticks and fleas (and a variety of other parasite infestations). Usually, they can scratch some off, or when the tick gets fully engorged they will pop or fall off. However, sometimes in debilitated animals, a severe tick infestation will cause death. ... 13#p763113

Would wolves kill Falcons, or any other type of large/medium sized bird if they had the chance?
CLBaileyi wrote:I would seriously doubt a wolf would be anywhere near the same habitat that most falcons live-this comes from studing both species for over 20 years. Falcons (the larger ones) are generally in more open country and bluff area and urban areas, although gyrfalcons and wolves are found in the North together. Smaller falcons (merlins and kestrels) are also generally not in the same location as wolves. When the website someone quoted said birds-this is generally other birds, not birds of prey, and most birds of prey do not show any interest in wolves, except for eagles or a vulture scavenging off of a carcass. ... 7&p=807569

1. How much of narcotic substances or anaesthetic a full-grown wolf requires when it has been captured in order to attach a radio collar? 2. For how long period of time does the collar work and how far the radio frequence reach? (If the wolf travels around extensively seeking for new areas, crosses borderlines between countries, etc) 3. Which gender has more radio collars attachted to them?
CLBaileyi wrote:1) There are a variety of anesthetics that are used by field staff and veterinarians, with a variety of doses for each, depending on several factors, so I am not going to be able to give you any specific doses...just wondering why you are asking though.

2) The duration and distance of the radio frequency in the color can also vary quite a bit-habitat with lots of hills will have shorter distances that can be covered vs. habitat that is fairly flat. Also, when in an airplane doing the searching, the distance is increased dramatically vs. when on the ground. This can vary from a mile to several miles. Also, an average VHS collar will last a few years-however, there is always the case of the technology not living up to its expectations and sometimes a collar will fail earlier than that. GPS collars can be set to download the information at a variety of intervals, with a variety of locations gathered. All of this impacts the life of the battery in the collar.

3) the collars are on both sexes at about the same rate, to my knowledge. Most studies want at least 1-2 pack members to have a functioning collar. ... 77#p807577
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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by Koa » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:35 pm

It's been awhile since I looked at them so I don't really remember, but I'll add it to the second post as a spoiler. Thank you!

EDIT: seems to exceed character limit on both first and second posts as a spoiler. If you'd like to post that as a separate topic, you may; that way, I can link to it. Thanks!

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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by Masika » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:44 pm

Koa wrote:It's been awhile since I looked at them so I don't really remember, but I'll add it to the second post as a spoiler. Thank you!

EDIT: seems to exceed character limit on both first and second posts as a spoiler. If you'd like to post that as a separate topic, you may; that way, I can link to it. Thanks!
Done! I have posted it in this board. Hopefully it'll be of good use! c:

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Re: READ!: Wolf Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Post by Koa » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:47 pm

SilverHybrid wrote:
Koa wrote:It's been awhile since I looked at them so I don't really remember, but I'll add it to the second post as a spoiler. Thank you!

EDIT: seems to exceed character limit on both first and second posts as a spoiler. If you'd like to post that as a separate topic, you may; that way, I can link to it. Thanks!
Done! I have posted it in this board. Hopefully it'll be of good use! c:

Thanks! I shall add the link now.

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