Wolves became a symbol of pride and freedom a very long time ago. True, a lone wolf is covered with a halo of romance, which is not entirely consistent with reality – in fact, these animals prefer to live in a pack, although lone wolves do occur. Clever, cunning, and courageous, these creatures once inspired fear among travelers. Now they are crowded out by the advancing civilization into remote corners of deep forests, and some of the wolf species are on the verge of extinction.
About their history
- Footprints of a human child and a wolf walking together were found in the Chauvet Cave in France. That means that the origin of the human-dog companionship could date to even before the last Ice Age.
- The most ancient cave paintings of wolves are about 20 thousand years old.
- Wolves were the first animals to be protected as endangered species.
- Ireland was once called the “Land of the Wolves”, as a huge number of these creatures lived in the Irish forests.
- A full-grown wild Alaskan Wolf would come to play with dogs. It even had a stash of toys; it would bring a styrofoam float over for a man to throw. The wolf was called Romeo by locals and died in 2010 after 6 years of this behavior. There was even a book written about him.
- In WWI, wolf packs attached German and Russian soldiers so much, that people had to come together to kill them. After that, the armies continued fighting.
About wolf packs
- The leader of the wolf pack always walks in the front of the pack, lifting its tail to demonstrate its position.
- In a wolf pack, there is not only the main wolf – the leader – but also the main female she-wolf.
- Various packs of wolves often fight over territory. The losing pack leaves.
- A large wolf pack can consist of 35-40 members.
- Wolves usually pair for life.
- Lone wolves are usually not dangerous – without their pack, these animals become much more careful.
- The study rejected the concept of the alpha wolf (commonly used by people to justify aggressive behavior) originated in a debunked model using just a few wolves in captivity. The scientist who created the idea of “Alpha” and “Beta” in wolf packs has spent the rest of his career trying to tell everyone he was wrong.
- There’s a theory that wolf packs exist because ravens eat so much of their meat. When one wolf kills a moose, 47% is lost to the birds while a pack of six loses only 17%.
- There was an instance when scientists noticed a single wolf killing 11 moose, which meant that wolves don’t hunt in packs because of difficulty.
About their biology
- Wolf fur consists of two layers – one to warm them, and the other to protect from moisture.
- The weight of the largest wolf ever found was 86 kilograms.
- The brain of a wolf is about a third larger than the brain of a dog.
- Wolves with black hair exist only in North America. This color was a result of a mutation, that happened after crossing them with dogs.
- Little wolf cubs are born deaf and blind.
- A hungry wolf can eat up to 10 kg of meat at a time.
- Most often, a wolf pack eats its prey alive, since the teeth of these animals can not quickly kill the victim.
- Wolves are able to live more than a week without food, while practically without reducing activity.
- The eyes of wolves, like the eyes of cats, can glow at night with reflected light (see interesting facts about cats).
- A newborn wolf cub weighs about a pound.
- During the first four months after birth, the wolf cubs increase their weight by about 25-30 times.
- Wolves eat carrion only if they cannot find another prey.
About their capabilities
- The wolf can jump to a height of five meters.
- A wolf is able to cover distances of up to 80 kilometers in a night.
- Wolves swim perfectly – they are quite capable of overcoming a distance of several tens of kilometers in water.
- Even in captivity, wolves are not amenable to training.
- Wolf’s ears are capable of catching sound at a distance of up to 9 kilometers.