The Big, Not Really Bad Wolf

I’ve hesitant about this animal for a while.  Mostly because I really wanted to do a post on it, but it would be difficult.  The reason for this is because there are 32 subspecies of wolf, which includes 24 New World and 8 Old World.  That’s a really long post.  So, I was happy to find that there’s a 3 species system.  I’ll go with that, but maybe I’ll do some wolf subspecies posts down the road.

Now, people will want the conservation status.  ENDANGERED is the easiest way to say it because many subspecies are in that category.  Wolves have a negative reputation, especially in areas where people make money off livestock.  They are seen as aggressive and dangerous beasts, so there have been many points in history where they have been wiped out around the world.  For example, they were eliminated in Yellowstone National Park and Great Britain.  The former resulted in an elk population boom, which threatened the environment.  Wolves were eventually reintroduced and the ecosystem went back into balance, which shows the important of these animals.

So, what is a wolf?  These are wild canines who are related to dogs.  They run in packs to help with hunting and protecting the young.  Most people know about them due to their placement as villains in kid stories and other media.  Since they are related to dogs, they share aspects of appearance and habits.  Alaskan malamutes are probably the closest breed to their wild relatives.

Big Note– Wolf packs don’t actually have an alpha male and female.  The term was first used by a biologist named Rudolph Shenkel in 1944 while he observed wolves in a German zoo. Do yo see the issue? Wolves, like humans, act differently in captivity than they would in the wild.  This is because they are strangers put together while packs in the wild are family units with the ‘alphas’ being mom and dad.  This is why you don’t see the term used scientifically any more.

So, what are some interesting facts?

  • They run on their 4 toes and not their paw pads.  Their speed are 36-38 mph.
  • Wolves mate for life.
  • Pups are born deaf and blind with bright blue eyes.
  • Wolves can hear sounds from up to 6 miles away
  • Their howls can be heard from around 10 miles away.  They don’t howl at the moon either.
  • They have over 200 million scent cells
  • Wolves have 42 teeth with 20 on the top and 22 on the bottom.
  • Wolves have a bite pressure that is strong enough to break bones and get at the marrow.
  • Due to packs being family units, they typically range from 2 to 10 members with 6 being the average.
  • There have only been 41 fatal wolf attacks recorded in North America . . Ever.
  • There are signs that wolves are stressed out by the presence of humans and dogs as well as the death of pack members.  This is done through studying cortisol levels in stool samples.

Now, what are the three general wolf species?

Eastern Wolf (debated)- Found in the Great Lakes Region

Gray Wolf- Found in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia

Red Wolf- Eastern North Carolina (14 left in wild)

This is for the general wolves, which seems to revolve around the Gray Wolf mostly.  You have others like the Maned wolves of South America, Ethiopian wolves, African golden wolves, dingoes in Australia, coyotes, and the list keeps going.  Many are seen as subspecies of the gray wolf too.  So, let’s go right to the videos:

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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23 Responses to The Big, Not Really Bad Wolf

  1. noelleg44 says:

    They have been trying to breed the red wolves in the wild here in NC with some success – they seeded them in the Great Dismal Swamp area. But they are very endangered.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember all the furor over wold reintroduction to Yellowstone. We have wolf packs in Eastern Washington, but there’s continual poaching. It’s pretty sad.


  3. It gets publicity in the paper, but I’m not sure if that discourages the poachers.


    • Maybe rangers should have a ‘kill poachers on sight’ rule like in some regions of Africa. That or we need more stories about poachers getting their comeuppance through nature. We don’t have rhinos, lions, and elephants, but there are bears, moose, and wolves.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed the post, Charles. Great videos, and loved all the research you put into the facts about wolves.


  5. jowensauthor says:

    Wolves are one of my favorite animals. Thanks for the post.


  6. I actually weaved red wolves into my upcoming story.


  7. Beautiful photos of the wolves and interesting facts. 🙂


  8. V.M.Sang says:

    Wolves are so cool. A pity they have such a bad reputation. The writers of fairy tales have a lot to answer for.
    I have the companions in my fantasy series, The Wolves of Vimar, call themselves Wolf after watching the way some wolves behaved, protecting and caring for each other.
    Wonderful animals.


  9. Jennie says:

    Wonderful post, Charles. Thank you for mentioning how reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone changed things back to where they should be. Here in Massachusetts we have a place, Wolf Hollow, where schoolchildren come and learn about wolves. Yes, I’ve taken my students there. Their howl is soft, and they are a family.


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