Baby wolves are called pups. Usually 4 to 6 pups are born together. This is called a lifter, and the pups in a lifter are called liftermates. Pups are born inside a den. A den is sometimes a small cave or a hole dug out of the ground. The den must be big enough for the mother and her pups. It shelters them from the weather and protects the pups from other animals that may want to hurt them. Packs sometimes use the same den year after year. At other times they make or find a new den each year.
Pups grow inside their mother for about 63 days before being born. At birth they weigh only 1 pound and their eyes are closed. Pups grow quickly. About 12 to 15 days after they are born they open their eyes. By 2 weeks of age the pups can walk, and about a week after that they may come out of the den for the first time. At first they live only on milk from their mother. In a few weeks they start eating more and more meat. This is brought to them in the stomachs of the adult wolves. The pups lick around the mouth of the adult and the food comes back up into the adult's mouth. This sounds terrible to us, but wolf pups love it! When pups are 6 months old they look almost like adult wolves. Around this time they start hunting with the rest of the pack.
All the wolves in a pack help take care of the pups. When the pups are very small, other pack members bring food to the mother so she doesn't have to leave the den. When the pups are a liftle bigger, pack members "take turns" bringing them food, playing with them and even "babysitting." Once the pups are about 8 weeks old, they leave the den and start using "rendezvous sites." These are meeting places where the wolves gather to sleep, play and just "hang out." Until the pups are old enough to go with the adults, they stay at the rendezvous site. Often one of the adult wolves stays with the pups to watch over them.
Wolf pups love to play. They chase each other and roll around the way dog puppies do. Many of their games appear to be a sort of practice for the things they will do as adult wolves. Pups have been observed playing with "toys" like bones, feathers or the skins of dead animals. They "kill" the toys over and over again and carry them around as "trophies." As they get bigger they begin to hunt small animals, like rabbits. This is all good practice for the day they join the pack for their first real hunt for large animals.
Most people who are uneducated about Wolves, picture them as vicious, horrible creatures. That is all rumor. A healthy Wolf has never attacked a human. In truth, they stay away from us mostly. Some say it's because they're scared of us. that's true- but not in the way most people take it. they are very intelligent- they do not fear us, but what we have become. In any case, Wolves are very gentle, understanding, even kind, in their normal state. Anyone who can picture a Wolf as a mindless killing machine has obviously never taken the time to actually learn about them. Someone like that has obviously never seen a Wolf pack, standing noble and proud, barely visable through a blizzard. They have obviously never seen a mother's devotion to her pups. They have obviously never had the privelage to hear a Wolf's howl echo through the night. These things are what Wolves are truly about.
some say Wolves have mystical origins. They communicate so well. And that most people's attitude towards Wolves comes from a root of jealously. if you take the time to sit down and think about it, wolves are everything we've ever wanted to be. They are agile, have strong endurance. They are faithful to each other, and mate for life. And they are not held like humans, by the chains of society. They live in the wild. They can run for miles, undaunted by the cold, against the wind. perhaps humans are jealous that an animal can so easily be everything they hoped to be.
Some General Wolf Facts
The wolf is a carnivore related with the jackal, coyote, fox and the domestic dog. They are recognized two species and a variable number of subspecies. The two species are: the gray wolf, which lives in Europe, North America and Asia, and the red wolf, that is found in Texas and in the southwest of the United States. A gray wolf adult can measure up to 1.6 m in length, including the tail (which sometimes can be half the length of the body!), and can weight up to 80 kilograms. The color of the fur varies from red-yellowish or gray-yellowish, with black large spots on the back and white on the chest and the ventral zone; nevertheless, the wolves that inhabit the north zones can be all white.
The red wolf is a little smaller than the gray wolf and its color is darker. All the wolves have in common very powerful teeth, fury tail and round eyes. They are different from domestic dog in determined characteristics of crane bones. The wolf can live in very different habitats, from opened meadows to forests and tundra, but has never been found in mountains of high altitude. Wolves are very sociable animals; they form social groups called wolf packs. They usually hunt in groups, and mostly in winter. They feed on deer, raindeer and other alike animals, although they also eat birds, hares or even rats and mice. Wolves prefer to attack ill animals first, older ones or the most young, because they are easier to capture. If the food supplies are low, wolves can even eat dead animals. The hiding or living place of a wolf can be a cave, a big hole in a tree, thick vegetation or a hole in the ground made by himself.
Reproduction occurs in spring and the female prepares a warm place in the ground or uses a natural cavity or the home of any animal, for giving birth; which can oscillate from one to eleven pups. Sometimes, the adults feed the pups with already eaten food. The little pups stay with their parents for almost a year or two. Progenitors and young ones constitute the basic unity of the group, they establish and defend a territory by marking it with urine. In some occasions they form major groups, because two families can join together, or because other individuals join the pack. In most of the cases the pack never overcomes ten individuals. The wolves have a social structure very hierarchized and show models of concrete behavior by informing of its social position of domain or submission. Each pack is lead by a so called alpha leader or alpha male who mates with the dominant female, who is called the alpha female. Wolves produce a howling which is very characteristic and which is easy to hear. The howling of a wolf also serves to maintain contact with the members of the pack, and for delimiting the territory or as well as warning of its presence to other packs. Their sharp sight and their sense of smell also play a very important role in the communication of the wolves. Although the wolves are still abundant in the east of Europe and Asia, in western Europe the populations are mostly ended and in North America their number have been reduced dramatically. In Iberian peninsula it is considered a vulnerable species, because although they are plentiful in some zones, in others they have almost disappeared, so that they must be protected. The fluctuations in the number of wolves depend on the intensity of the hunt and of the advantage over new sources of food for this animal. In North America they are fairly abundant in Alaska and Canada, but its population reduces. In the south he is only present in North Dakota, Wyoming and such, and the southwest. Humans always see the wolves as a competitors and as danger. Nevertheless, the reality demonstrates that wolves tend to avoid humans when they face each others, and besides, they form an essential link within the food chain. On the other hand, the disappearance of the wolf in some places has produced an increase of other species that are mostly not liked, as is the case of rats and mice. Scientific classification: The wolf belongs to the family of the canines, within the classification of the Carnivorous. The gray wolf is known as Canis lupus and the red wolf as Canis rufus.