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About Wolves

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Here you will find as much information I was able to find about wolves.

To help us visualize the size of the wolf, let's
look at the comparison of a wolf and an Alaskan
malamute, both weighing 100 pounds: The
wolf''s head was longer, wider and generally
larger, while the malamute was bigger in the
chest by a few inches. Although they both
had 42 teeth, the jaw pressure of the wolf was
double that of the malamute. The wolf stood
two inches taller, was three inches longer in
the leg, and eight inches longer in the body.
The wolf's track was twice the size of the dog's. 

The average weight for a North American wolf
is 80 pounds, although it is not uncommon to
see a wolf in Alaska, weighing over 100 pounds
Males are generally five to ten pounds heavier
than females. Many Alaskan's say the largest
wolves are black. 

A wolf's coat can vary from white to various
shades of beige, brown, gray and black. It
consists of two layers; a soft light colored,
dense fur, covered by long guard hairs which
keep the undercoat dry. The shading of the
fur, which is more distinctive around the face,
accents the wolf's facial communication. 

In the late spring the wolf sheds his winter
coat. The new hair that forms the short summer
coat, continues to grow just enough to gradually
form the long winter coat. 

In "Of Wolves And Men", Barry Lopez writes
how Nunamiut hunters in Alaska are keen
observers of detail and are able to tell a wolf's
age and sex, from a distance, by the color and
condition of it's pelage. They can also tell from
a wolf's track if it is rabid, as it has a tension in
the muscles of his feet that keep his footpads
spread, when he is walking on dry ground. 

Wolves in warmer climates have shorter guard
hairs and less dense undercoat. The red wolf,
which lives in hot, humid areas, has a shorter
coat and longer pointed ears than the wolves of
the north. Short ears are less sensitive to the cold,
while long ears are efficient dissipaters of body heat. 

When a wolf curls up at night, it uses it's bushy
tail to cover it's feet and nose. The tail placed
over the nose holds the warm air exhaled from
the lungs over the feet and nose, warming them. 

In extreme cold the wolf can reduce the flow of 
blood near it's skin to conserve heat. When in
contact with ice or snow, the temperature of the
wolf's footpads remain at just above the tissue
freezing point. The wolf's ability to regulate it's
body temperature has helped it to survive in a
wide variety of climates. 

The wolf's front feet are much larger, a great
advantage when it runs upon snow. It allows
greater weight distribution and more support
to prevent the wolf from sinking in as deeply,
when the snow is soft.

The wolf's most indispensable personality trait
is the ability to exist as part of a group, to form
an attachment to others of it's kind. Wolves are
social animals of the first order. The presence of
an understood hierarchy serves the crutial purpose
of elimating conflict. This usually consists of a
pack of five to ten wolves. The pack has a defined
social structure, one that enhances their survival
by collective hunting and population control.
This hierarchy is subject to change, especially
during breeding season. 

Wolves breed once yearly, in February or March
and four to six pups are born, sixty three days later.
Usually, only the alpha pair breeds, although the
entire pack assists in the raising of the pups.
When a pup become sexually mature at two years,
he may stay with the pack or start one of his own. 

Social relationships are maintained by vocalization,
and postural and facial expressions. Due to an
understood dominance hiarchy, pack members
rarely injure one another. Fatal encounters with
other wolf packs are avoided by the use of
territories with overlapping boundries, which
are held by scent marking and howling.