A list of the top thirty most interesting facts about the largest members of the dog family, wolves. If you love these animals, you love this!
- Wolves are the largest members of the dog family.
- ‘Canis Lupis‘ is Latin for Gray Wolf, which is the most common.
- It is believed that the Red Wolf (also known in Latin as ‘Canis Rufus‘) is to be a cross-breed of Gray Wolf and coyote.
- The ‘Canis Simensis‘ (Ethiopian Wolf) lives in Africa.
- The domestic dog (known in Latin as ‘Canis Familiaris‘) shares many wolf traits.
- Many species have become extinct, while many remain in a vulnerable state.
- In Eastern Europe and the USA, wolves are being reintroduced into the wild and into research parks.
- Wolves live in packs of up to 20.
- A single wolf can be up to 5ft in length, standing at 3ft.
- One of the heaviest wolves on record weighed 130lbs.
- A female wolf (or ‘bitch’) can have up to six young (‘pups’).
- Wolves generally prefer larger prey such as deer, but will settle for something smaller, such as rabbit.
- Wolves are estimated to live up to 13 years old.
- The strongest male and female pairing lead the pack and are known as ‘alphas’.
- Pack alphas are the only couple to mate.
- Bitches live in underground dens for the spring so they are able to birth and feed their blind and deaf pups.
- The entire pack is expected to assist in childbearing.
- A wolf’s howl is a method of communication that is the loudest when in harmony with others. A single wolf howl can be heard up to 10km.
- A wolf’s hearing is twenty times better than a human’s.
- Their long muzzle ends with a hyper sensitive nose, which is one hundred times better than a human’s.
- Their thick fur helps them survive the bitter climates.
- Wolves hunt in packs by stalking and attacking old, sick or weak animals.
- A wolf can eat up to 9kg on one meal alone. This includes the bones, fur and meat.
- A single wolf can travel up to 200km in 24 hours.
- In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus were raised by wolves.
- The fearsome werewolf legend has roots in ancient Greece, where after being insulted, Zeus turned King Lycaon of Arcadia into a wolf.
- Some people believe that they suffer from lycanthropy – the belief that they can turn into wolves.
- In Amerindian cultures, the wolf is seen as a pathfinder and great teacher.
- In Norse mythology however, the most feared and hated wolf was Fenrir, the eldest child of Loki. It was foretold that Fenrir would kill Odin and so he was bound by the Gods.
- Wolves feature heavily in much pop-culture, such as:
a. Fairy tales (the Big Bad Wolf)
b. Fantasy fiction (The Sight by David Clement-Davies)
c. Fiction (White Fang by Jack London)
d. Film (Alpha and Omega)
e. Games (Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII has a silver wolf motif)
f. Manga (in Bleach, Sajin Komamura has the head of a wolf)
g. Music (metal band Metallica have a song ‘Of Wolf and Man’, which features werewolf related lyrics)
h. Television (in Game of Thrones Dire Wolves are the sigil of House Stark).