Wolfcommon wolf (Canis lupus), a predatory mammal of the wolf (canine) family. It is the ancestor of a domestic dog, which is usually considered a subspecies of the wolf (Canis lupus familiaris).
The largest animal in the wolf family. The length of the body (with tail) is 145-240 cm, the height at the shoulders is 65-110 cm, the mass is 30-120 kg, usually 40-70 kg, according to some reports, for very large instances it reaches 130 kg (it was reported that such wolves live on Scandinavian Peninsula), which is unlikely. The maximum officially registered weight of the Evenik wolf was 123 kg. The sizes are subject to strong geographical variability: northern individuals are larger, southern ones are smaller. Males are often larger than females, with a larger forehead, however, in some cases, very large females are found.
In general appearance it resembles a large sharp-eyed dog. The legs of the wolf are high, strong, the paw is small and, unlike the dog, is knocked down into a “lump” (fingers are tightly pressed), which makes it possible to distinguish the tracks of the wolf from the dog. The length of the print reaches 12 cm. The head is broad-faced, the muzzle is very elongated and framed by “whiskers” on the sides. The tail is quite long, thick and, unlike the tail, is always down, hunters call it “log”.
The fur of the wolves is thick, rather long. The wolves of Siberia and the polar wolves have the longest. Between the subspecies of the wolf there are significant differences in color. Forest wolves are gray-brown. Tundra and polar - light, almost white. Desert - grayish-reddish. In the highlands of Central Asia and Mongolia, the color of the wolves is bright ocher. In addition, pure white, red or almost black individuals are found. The color of the wolf is monophonic, dark, brightens with age.
Wolf: description, structure, characteristics. What does a wolf look like?
Most wolves are medium-sized and large predators, the largest are gray and polar wolves: their height at the withers can reach 85 cm, and the length of the body, excluding the tail, is 150-160 cm. The size and weight of the predators fully comply with Bergman's rule: the harsher the environment Habitat - the larger the beast, therefore, the largest wolves weighing up to 85-90 kg live in Siberia, although the average mass of the wolf is about 35-50 kg. The smallest are the Arabian wolves, their maximum height at the withers is only 66 cm, and the weight of the females does not exceed 10 kg. In any species of wolves, females are smaller than males.
Photo by Ahmad Qarmish12, CC BY-SA 4.0
Outwardly, wolves look like large dogs with a strong, muscular body and high legs, only maned wolves look more like long-legged foxes, and red wolves possess the characteristics of wolves, foxes and jackals.
Predators have a long and thick tail, which in some species grows to 56 cm in length and is always lowered down. The head of the wolf is massive, with high pointed ears, and the muzzle is elongated and wide. The skull of red and maned wolves resembles foxes in shape.
The cleft palate is armed with 42 teeth: predatory teeth are designed to tear prey into pieces and grind bones, and with the help of fangs, the beast holds and drags its prey tightly.
Only in red wolves does the dentition contain fewer molars.
Photo by: Sander van der Wel, CC BY-SA 2.0
Wolfs are born with blue eyes, but by the third month the rainbow acquires an orange or golden yellow color, although there are wolves that remain blue-eyed all their lives.
Photo by Rijin S / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
The fur of the wolf is thick and two-layered: the undercoat is formed by waterproof fluff, and the top layer is made up of the remaining hair, which repels dirt and moisture. The low thermal conductivity of the coat allows animals to survive in the most severe climatic conditions.
The color of the wolves has a rich spectrum of shades, including various variations of gray, white, black and brown colors, although often the fur is red, pure white or almost black. It is believed that the coat color allows predators to blend harmoniously with the surrounding landscape, and a mixture of different shades emphasizes the individuality of the animals.
Photo by John5199, CC BY 2.0
Wolves are finger animals: relying on the fingers allows them to balance their weight while moving. Strong limbs, a narrow sternum and a sloping back allow predators to travel considerable distances in search of food. The usual wolf gait is a light trot at a speed of about 10 km / h. The speed of a wolf pursuing prey can reach 65 km / h.
The wolf has excellent hearing, eyesight is much weaker, but the sense of smell is excellent: the predator senses prey for 3 km, and the ability to distinguish several million different shades of smell is of great importance during rutting, during hunting and during communicative communication of animals. Urinary and fecal markers are used to indicate the boundaries of the territory.
Photo by Kristi Herbert, CC BY 2.0
The voice range of wolves is rich and diverse: predators howl, grumble, sniff, screech, growl, whimper and transmit complex messages to other members of the pack in a voice. At dawn, one can hear the “choral singing” of wolves. It is believed that wolves howl at the moon, but in fact the animals howl inform the pack members about their whereabouts and drive away strangers. Single animals that live outside the flock rarely howl, so as not to incur disaster.
The facial expressions of wolves are also very strongly developed: due to the position of the mouth, lips, ears and tail, as well as the showing of teeth, predators express their emotional state. Like a domestic dog, a raised tail and wolf ears mean alertness or aggression.
Where do wolves live?
Historically, the range of wolves was the second largest after the range of humans in the Northern Hemisphere, but today it has decreased significantly. Wolves live in Europe (Baltic States, Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, Belarus, Italy, Poland, the Balkans and Scandinavian countries), Asia (in countries such as China, Korea, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Iran , Iraq, the north of the Arabian Peninsula), Africa (Ethiopia), North America (Canada, Mexico, USA, including Alaska), South America (Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay). In Russia, wolves are distributed throughout the territory, except for Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.
The following types of wolves live in Russia:
- red wolf (2 subspecies out of 10),
- grey Wolf,
- tundra wolf
- steppe wolf
- Eurasian wolf, he is Tibetan or Carpathian,
- polar Wolf.
Photo by Holger Uwe Schmitt, CC BY-SA 4.0
Predators have mastered and adapted to life in a wide variety of natural zones: wolves live in the tundra, forests, deserts and semi-deserts, on the plains, in mountain forests, sometimes they live close to settlements.
Wolves are territorial and social animals that form flocks of 3 to 40 individuals, which occupy a personal area of 65-300 square kilometers, indicated by odorous marks. At the head of the pack is a monogamous pair of leaders: an alpha male and an alpha female, the remaining members of the pack are their offspring, other relatives and solitary lone wolves, subject to a strict hierarchy. During the driving season, the flock breaks up, the territory is divided into small fragments, but the dominant pair always gets the best site. While moving through their territory, leaders leave odorous marks every 3 minutes. At the border of the territory, the density of marks can be even more often.
Being nocturnal animals, during the day, wolves rest in various natural shelters, thickets and shallow caves, but they often use burrows of marmots, arctic foxes or badgers, and they themselves dig holes very rarely.
What does a wolf eat?
Wolves are one of the most dexterous, fast and hardy predators that track and tirelessly pursue their prey. The diet of the wolf depends on the availability of feed and in most varieties it consists mainly of animal food. Wolves equally successfully hunt in packs and alone, but they can only drive and attack large prey, for example, reindeer, bison, or yak, in close-knit hunting. In 60% of cases, wolves attack young, old, sick or wounded animals, and they feel great whether the animal is strong and healthy or painful and weakened.
In the wild, the wolf eats large animals (moose, deer, roe deer, saigas, antelopes, bison, wild boars), smaller mammals (hares, ground squirrels, beavers, armadillos, mice, lemmings), as well as fish, birds hatching, and their eggs. Large and small domestic animals and birds (geese, ducks, sheep, cows, horses), as well as foxes, wild dogs and Korsaki, often become prey for wolves.
In the absence of a main source of food, wolves do not shun small amphibians (e.g. frogs), lizards, insects (bugs, locusts) and carrion (e.g. dead seals that have been washed ashore). In the warm season, berries, mushrooms and ripe fruits appear in the diet of predators.
In the steppes, wolves quench their thirst in fields with gourds - watermelons and melons. Hungry predators even attack bears in hibernation; they will not miss the opportunity to tear up a weakened and sick animal, eating up to 10-14 kg of meat at a time. A hungry polar wolf eats a white hare, with bones and skin. An interesting feature of wolves is their habit of returning to the bodies of an undernourished victim, as well as hiding excess meat in reserve.
Photo by: Tontan Travel, CC BY-SA 2.0
Types of wolves, photos and names
In the canine (wolf) family, several genera are distinguished, which include different types of wolves:
- Rod Wolves (lat. Canis)
- A wolf, he is a gray wolf, or an ordinary wolf (lat. Canis lupus), which includes many subspecies, including domestic dogs and Dingo dogs (secondarily feral):
- Canis lupus albus (Kerr, 1792) - tundra wolf,
- † Canis lupus alces (Goldman, 1941),
- Canis lupus arabs (Pocock, 1934) - arabian wolf,
- Canis lupus arctos (Pocock, 1935) - Melville Island Wolf,
- Canis lupus baileyi (Nelson and Goldman, 1929) - Mexican wolf,
- † Canis lupus beothucus (G. M. Allen and Barbour, 1937) - Newfoundland wolf,
- † Canis lupus bernardi (Anderson, 1943),
- Canis lupus campestris (Dwigubski, 1804) - a desert wolf, aka the steppe wolf,
- Canis lupus chanco (Gray, 1863),
- Canis lupus columbianus (Goldman, 1941),
- Canis lupus crassodon (Hall, 1932) - Vancouver Island Wolf,
- † Canis lupus deitanus (Cabrera, 1907) (in some classifications it is synonymous with the subspecies Canis lupus lupus),
- Canis lupus dingo (Meyer, 1793) - the Dingo dog, or the second feral domestic dog,
- Canis lupus familiaris (Linnaeus, 1758) - dog,
- Canis lupus filchneri (Matschie, 1907),
- Canis lupus floridanus (Miller, 1912),
- † Canis lupus fuscus (Richardson, 1839),
- Canis lupus gregoryi (Goldman, 1937),
- † Canis lupus griseoalbus (Baird, 1858),
- Canis lupus hallstromi (Troughton, 1958) - New Guinean singing dog (in some classifications it is a synonym for subspecies Canis lupus dingo),
- † Canis lupus hattai (Kishida, 1931) - Japanese wolf, or shaman,
- † Canis lupus hodophilax (Temminck, 1839),
- Canis lupus hudsonicus (Goldman, 1941) - Hudson Wolf,
- † Canis lupus irremotus (Goldman, 1937),
- Canis lupus labradorius (Goldman, 1937),
- Canis lupus ligoni (Goldman, 1937),
- Canis lupus lupus (Linnaeus, 1758) - European wolf, aka Eurasian wolf, Chinese wolf, or ordinary wolf,
- Canis lupus lycaon (Schreber, 1775) - Eastern wolf, or North American forest wolf,
- Canis lupus mackenzii (Anderson, 1943),
- Canis lupus manningi (Anderson, 1943),
- † Canis lupus minor (M. Mojsisovics, 1887) (in some classifications it is synonymous with the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris),
- † Canis lupus mogollonensis (Goldman, 1937),
- † Canis lupus monstrabilis (Goldman, 1937),
- Canis lupus nubilus (Say, 1823) - a bison wolf, or the wolf of the Great Plains,
- Canis lupus occidentalis (Richardson, 1829) - Mackensian plain wolf, aka Alaskan wolf, Canadian wolf or Rocky Mountain wolf,
- Canis lupus orion (Pocock, 1935)
- Canis lupus pallipes (Sykes, 1831) - Asian, aka Indian or Iranian wolf,
- Canis lupus pambasileus (Elliot, 1905),
- Canis lupus rufus (Audubon and Bachman, 1851) - the red wolf,
- Canis lupus signatus (Cabrera, 1907) - Iberian wolf (in some classifications it is a synonym for the subspecies Canis lupus lupus),
- Canis lupus tundrarum (Miller, 1912) - polar wolf,
- † Canis lupus youngi (Goldman, 1937) - wolf of the southern Rockies.
- A wolf, he is a gray wolf, or an ordinary wolf (lat. Canis lupus), which includes many subspecies, including domestic dogs and Dingo dogs (secondarily feral):
- Genus Maned Wolves (lat. Chrysocyon)
- Maned wolf, or guar, or aguarachay (lat. Chrysocyon brachyurus)
- Genus Red Wolves
- Red Wolf, or Mountain Wolf, or Himalayan Wolf, or Buanza (lat. Cuon alpinus)
The following is a description of several varieties of wolves.
- Red Wolfhe mountain wolf, himalayan wolf or buanzu(Cuon alpinus)
A large predator that externally combines the features of a wolf, fox and jackal. Mature males grow from 76 to 110 cm in length. The weight of the red wolf is 17-21 kg. The tail of animals is longer than that of other wolves, fluffy, like a fox, and grows up to 45-50 cm in length. The red wolf has a shortened, pointed muzzle and large ears with a high set. The main color of animals is various shades of red, and the tip of the tail is always black. A distinctive feature of the subspecies is the smaller number of teeth and from 6 to 7 pairs of nipples. Differences in fur density, color and body size made it possible to divide the species into 10 subspecies.
Predator biotopes are tied to mountains, rocks and gorges (up to 4 thousand meters above sea level). The red wolf eats small animals - amphibians and rodents, as well as large animals: zambars, axes and antelopes. In summer, wolves enjoy eating a variety of vegetation.
A significant part of the range of animals extends through the territory of Central and South Asia, predators live from the Altai mountains and the Tien Shan to the Hindustan, Indochina and the Malay archipelago. The largest population is observed in the Himalayas, southern Iran, India and the Pakistani Indus Valley. In other habitats, the red wolf is extremely small or completely extinct, so the species is endangered and is under protection.
Photo by Raju Venkatesha Murthy, CC BY-SA 4.0
- Maned wolfhe guara or aguarachay(Chrysocyon brachyurus)
A unique representative of the family, its name translates as “short-tailed golden dog”. On the nape of predators, long hair grows up to 13 cm long, forming a thick mane. Externally, a maned wolf resembles a large long-legged fox, the body length of adults is 125-130 cm, due to excessively elongated limbs, the height of the wolf at the withers reaches 74-87 cm, and animals weigh from 20 to 23 kg. The obvious imbalance of the body is especially emphasized by the long muzzle, large, high-set ears and a short tail with a length of 28 to 45 cm. The hair of the wolf has a reddish-yellow color, a strip of black hair runs along the spine, the legs are almost black, and the chin and tail end are light.
Maned wolves live exclusively on the plains, and, evolving, have found their surprisingly long limbs, allowing them to pave the way among the thickets of grass. The range of the species extends from northeast Brazil to the eastern regions of Bolivia, in the south captures Paraguay and the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. According to IUCN, the state of the population becomes vulnerable.
Predators feed on rodents, rabbits, armadillos, amphibians, insects, and also eat guavas, bananas and nightshade, which saves animals from nematodes.
Photo by Aguará, CC BY-SA 3.0
- Eastern Wolf he is north american forest wolf(Canis lupus lycaon)
Until now, there is no definite classification: a number of scientists consider it as an independent species (Canis lycaon) or consider a hybrid of a gray wolf with a red wolf or a coyote. Growth in the shoulders of seasoned males reaches 80 cm, females - 75 cm, with a body weight of 40 and 30 kg, respectively. The fur of the eastern wolf is yellowish brown, shaggy, black hair grows on the back and sides, and the area behind the ears has a reddish-brown hue.
Eastern wolves are predominantly carnivores; deer, moose and rodents become their prey.
These animals live in forests from the southeast of the Canadian province of Ontario to the province of Quebec.
Photo by Wystan, CC BY 2.0
- Common wolf or grey Wolf(Canis lupus)
One of the largest predators among canids, with a body size reaching 1-1.6 m. Growth in the shoulders of inveterate individuals is from 66 to 86 cm, in especially large specimens it is up to 90 cm. An ordinary wolf weighs from 32 to 62 kg. in the inhabitants of the northern areas of the range, body weight varies from 50 to 80 kg. The tail of predators grows to 52 cm. The color of animal fur is quite variable: the inhabitants of the forests are usually gray-brown, the inhabitants of the tundra are almost white, the desert predators are gray with red, only the undercoat is always gray.
Favorite food of wolves is various ungulate mammals: deer, moose, roe deer, antelopes, wild boars and small animals: mice, hares, ground squirrels. Wolves do not disdain representatives of their own family, for example, small foxes and raccoon dogs, often various domestic animals become their prey. During the ripening period, predators quench their thirst on melons, eating watermelons and melons, because they need a lot of moisture.
The area of the gray wolf passes through the territory of Eurasia and North America. In Europe, predators are common from Spain and Portugal to Ukraine, the countries of Scandinavia and the Balkans. In Russia, the gray wolf lives everywhere, except for Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. In Asia, animals are distributed from Korea, China and Hindustan to Afghanistan and the north of the Arabian Peninsula. In North America, animals are found from Alaska to Mexico.
Photo by: Mas3cf, CC BY-SA 4.0
- Red wolf(Canis lupus rufus)
At first it was considered as an independent species (lat. Canis rufus), but DNA tests allowed him to be considered a hybrid of a gray wolf and a coyote.
These predators are smaller than gray relatives, but larger than coyotes, their size is from 1 to 1.3 m, excluding the tail, and the growth of animals is from 66 to 79 cm. Mature wolves weigh from 20 to 41 kg.Red wolves are more slender and leggy than their gray relatives, their ears are more elongated, and the fur, on the contrary, is shorter. The red color of the fur is characteristic of the inhabitants of Texas, other animals in the color, along with the red, have gray, brownish and black tones, the back is usually black.
The diet of predators consists mainly of rodents, raccoons and hares; hunting for large prey is rare. Secondary foods are insects and different berries, carrion is eaten on occasion.
The red wolf is the rarest subspecies, its range, originally covering the eastern United States, was reduced to small areas of Texas and Louisiana, and in the 70s of the 20th century, the red wolf was completely exterminated, with the exception of 14 specimens preserved in captivity. Thanks to measures aimed at restoring the population, out of 300 hatched individuals, about a hundred predators today live within the state of North Carolina.
Photo Credit: Tim Ross, Public Domain
- Tundra wolf(Canis lupus albus)
One of the especially large and poorly studied subspecies, outwardly similar to its close relative, the polar wolf, but somewhat inferior to it in size: the average weight of predators is about 42-49 kg. Although pure white wolves are found in the population, most individuals are gray-white and dark gray with a complete absence of brown.
The developed massive wolf jaws with strong teeth make it possible to hunt large prey, although rodents and white hares are present in the diet.
Tundra wolves live throughout the tundra and forest-tundra of Europe and Siberia right up to Kamchatka and the Arctic coast.
Photo by: Benutzer: Asb, CC BY-SA 3.0
- Steppe wolf or desert wolf(Canis lupus campestris)
A poorly studied variety of predators of small size, with a rather rare and rough coat of a grayish-buff color.
Desert wolves inhabit the steppe and desert landscapes of Central Asia, including the Kazakh steppes and southern Russia: Ciscaucasia, the Caspian lowland, the Ural region and the Lower Volga region.
Photo by: Albert Salemgareev
- Eurasian wolfhe European, steppe, Carpathian, Tibetan or toitalianwolfalso called common wolf(Canis lupus lupus)
Outwardly, the predator resembles North American subspecies, but its fur is denser and shorter. Growth of mature males in the shoulders is about 76 cm with a body weight of 70 to 73 kg.
The smallest individuals inhabit Eastern Europe, the most massive are found in the north of Russia. The color of the wolves is monophonic or includes various combinations of gray, white, black, red and beige, and the most brightly colored specimens live in Central Europe.
The diet of European wolves depends on its range and consists mainly of medium and large prey, such as saigas, chamois, mouflon, deer, roe deer, wild boars and even bison and yaks. Predators do not shun small animals, catching hares and frogs, and in the complete absence of food they feed on slaughterhouses with waste from slaughterhouses.
The Carpathian wolf is considered a particularly common subspecies of the common wolf and is found on a significant range that passes through Eurasia through Western Europe, the Scandinavian countries, Russia, China, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and the Himalayas.
Photo Credit: Retron, CC BY 3.0
- polar Wolf(Canis lupus tundrarum)
The closest relative of the European wolf and the completely extinct Japanese wolf. Adult males grow in length from 1.3 to 1.5 m, not counting the tail, and weigh about 85 kg, their growth in the shoulders reaches 80-93 cm. The light fur of the polar wolf is extremely dense, adapted to survive in extremely cold climates and warming the beast during long hunger strikes.
The most accessible prey for predators are lemmings and arctic whites, with a successful hunt the flock gets a musk ox or reindeer.
The species range extends throughout the Arctic and undergoes slight fluctuations caused by animal migrations - the main food sources. The life span of the polar wolf is about 17 years.
Photo by rjime31, CC BY 2.0
Females of a wolf mature at 2 years of age, males become sexually mature at the age of 3 years. The run of wolves depends on the range and usually occurs from January to April. Marital behavior of a couple consists in mutual courtship and flirting. In the formation of new pairs between the males fierce fights ensue, and a weaker opponent often dies.
At the time of mating, the partners leave the pack and retire. The lair settles down in a secluded place (dense shrubs, thickets, crevices of rocks), and a wolf’s pregnancy lasts about 62-65 days. In the litter there is usually an odd number of puppies - from 3 to 13, young wolves are born blind and open their eyes only after 12-13 days. Weak females are rejected so that stronger cubs get more milk.
Growing up wolf cubs are fed by burping parents, consisting of semi-digested meat, then they begin to eat brought prey, and all members of the pack feed the wolf cubs. By autumn, the young (arrived) wolves are already beginning to participate in the hunt.
Enemies of the wolf in nature
Wolves have few natural enemies. Sometimes predators get into skirmishes due to sharing a prey with a lynx or a bear, they may suffer and even die from injuries sustained when hunting a large prey - an elk, a deer, a bison or a horse. The red wolves living in the USA were attacked by alligators and cougars. Sometimes representatives of two different wolf packs arrange bloody fights among themselves, dividing the habitat, which also leads to fatal injuries. However, man is considered the main enemy of the wolf: setting traps and unauthorized shooting of wolves by poachers sometimes lead to a soulless and barbaric reduction in the population of these predatory animals.
Wolf as a pet
Recently it has become "fashionable" to keep the wolf as a pet. The wolf easily lends itself to training, however, it executes the owner’s commands only if it is interesting to himself. True, puppies with a meek disposition become more aggressive with age and are not averse to competing with a person for leadership in a pack. The wolf at home is not always safe, therefore, such a pet should be treated with special attention and great care.
In historical time, among terrestrial mammals, the range of the wolf occupied the second largest area after the range of humans, covering most of the Northern Hemisphere, and has now greatly decreased.
In Europe, the wolf survived in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Scandinavia, the Baltic states, and the Balkans. In Asia, it inhabits Korea, partially China and the Hindustan Peninsula, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the north of the Arabian Peninsula, and has become extinct in Japan (subspecies Canis lupus hodophilax) In North America, it is found from Alaska to Mexico. In South America does not live. It is found throughout Russia, except for some islands.
The wolf lives in a variety of landscapes, but prefers the steppes, semi-deserts, tundra, forest-steppe, avoiding dense forests. In the mountains, it is distributed from the foot to the area of alpine meadows, adhering to open, weakly crossed sections. Can settle not far from human habitation. In the taiga zone, it spread after the person, as the taiga was cut down.
The wolf is a fairly territorial creature. Breeding pairs, and often flocks, live settled in certain areas, the boundaries of which are indicated by odorous marks. The diameter of the site occupied by the flock in the winter is usually 30-60 kilometers. In spring and summer, when the flock breaks up, the territory it occupies is divided into several fragments. The best of them is captured and held by the main pair, the rest of the wolves go on a semi-stray lifestyle. In the open steppes and tundra, wolves often wander after moving herds of livestock or domestic deer.
Lairs are arranged for breeding, usually they are served as natural shelters - crevices in rocks, bushes, etc. Sometimes wolves occupy burrows of badgers, marmots, Arctic foxes and other animals, less often they dig them on their own. Most of all, the female is attached to the lair during the offspring rearing; the male does not use it. Young growth is carried out in sheltered places: in a forest strip - mainly in dense shrubs, on manes among marshy swamps, in the steppes - along ravines, gullies and dry reed beds overgrown with bushes, in the tundra - on hills. It is characteristic that wolves never hunt near their home, but at a distance of 7-10 km and beyond. After the wolf cubs grow up, the animals cease to use the permanent den, and take a rest in various, but reliable places.
Lifestyle and nutrition
The wolf is a typical predator that feeds by actively searching and stalking victims.
The basis of the wolves' nutrition is ungulate animals: reindeer in the tundra, moose, deer, roe deer, wild boars in the forest zone, and antelopes in the steppes and deserts. Wolves also attack domestic animals (sheep, cows, horses), including dogs. Especially solitary wolves are caught and smaller prey: hares, ground squirrels, mouse-like rodents. In summer, wolves do not miss the chance to eat a laying of eggs, chicks sitting on nests or feeding on the ground grouse, waterfowl and other birds. Often, domestic geese are also caught. Foxes, raccoon dogs, corsacs sometimes become prey for wolves, and sometimes hungry wolves attack bears sleeping in the den. Wolves have cannibalism. There are many cases when they tore and ate weakened animals, wounded by hunters or severely injured in a fight during the rutting season. Unlike many other predators, wolves often return to the half-eaten remnants of their prey, especially during the hungry season. Do not disdain the corpses of livestock, but on the sea coasts - the carcasses of seals and other sea animals thrown ashore. During periods of nourishment, wolves eat reptiles, frogs, and even large insects (beetles, locusts). Wolves, especially in the southern regions, also eat plant foods - different berries, wild and garden fruits, even mushrooms. In the steppes, they often raid melons and watermelons and melons, satisfying not so much hunger as thirst, because they need a regular, plentiful watering.
Active mainly at night. Wolves often make their presence known with a loud howl, very different from seasoned males, she-wolves and young animals. Of the external senses, the wolf has the best developed hearing, a little worse - the sense of smell, vision is much weaker. Well-developed higher nervous activity is combined in wolves with strength, dexterity, speed and other physical data that increase the chances of this predator in the struggle for existence. If necessary, the wolf speeds up to 55-60 km / h and is able to make transitions up to 60-80 km per night.
When attacking a herd, wolves often slaughter several animals, tearing their throats or opening their belly. Wolves leave inedible meat in reserve.
Mentally, the wolf is highly developed. This is expressed in the ability to navigate the environment and get away from danger, as well as in hunting methods. There are cases when a pack of wolves was divided, and one part remained in ambush, while the other caught up on its prey. In a flock pursuing an elk or a deer, often some wolves run along the heels of the victim, while others cross the line or shy away slowly and, having rest, replace the advanced ones until they starve the victim.
Edit Social structure and reproduction
For wolves, a typical family lifestyle is typical. They form pairs for an indefinitely long period.
The race takes place from December to March. Usually only the main pair propagates. Her race runs in a fairly peaceful environment, unless a single male competitor appears. A group of males can gather near young and solitary old she-wolves, between which fierce fights arise, sometimes fatal. After 62–65 days of pregnancy, the females bring from 3 to 10–13 blind wolf cubs, discerning on 12–13 days. Parents feed on grown-ups with a belch from the eaten meat, later - killed prey. The whole flock takes part in feeding wolf cubs.
By the end of summer, young (arrived) Wolves begin to take part in hunts with adults. At this time, the wolf cubs born in the previous year (outbreaks) and driven away for breeding time. The flock holds together until the estrus begins, when the former outbreaks participate in breeding, and the newly arrived wolves temporarily drive away. A flock of wolves in the autumn – winter season can consist of two old people, 3–6 arrived and 2–4 outbreaks, that is, from 7–12 individuals, rarely more.
Although wolves carefully take care of their offspring, up to 60-80% of puppies die in the first year of life. She-wolves reach puberty in the second year of life, and males in 3 years. In nature, wolves live up to 15 years, but already at 10-12 years old they show signs of old age.