Behavior and Communication:Edit
The wolf pack is one of nature's most sophisticated social orders, as well as one of the most intensively
studied. A wolf pack is usually a family group of five to eight animals, usually consisting of a pair of breeding adults and their young of 1 or 2 years old. The breeding pair is likely to be the oldest, largest, and strongest wolves in the pack. They are known as the dominant wolves and are usually the only members of the pack to produce pups. Any wolf can become dominant. To do so, it must find an unoccupied territory and a member of the opposite sex with which to mate. Or, more rarely, it moves into a pack with a missing dominant wolf and take its place, or perhaps kills the dominant wolf and usurps its mate. Wolves use body language to convey the rules of the pack and rule number one says that the pack is made up of leaders and followers. The dominant male and female are in charge of the pack. To communicate dominance, they carry their tails high and stand tall. Less dominant wolves exhibit submissive behavior by holding their tails down and often lower their bodies while pawing at the higher-ranking wolves. The pack has a complex social hierarchy maintained through a variety of vocalizations, body postures, and scent marking.
Breeding and Maturity:Edit
The pack's social structure generally determines which wolves breed, usually only the dominant wolves or breeding pair mate and produce a single litter of pups. However when prey in winter is abundant, a wolf pack may occasionally have multiple litters born that spring. In northern climates such as Minnesota, the mating season is usually early January through late February, with a litter of 4 to 6 pups born 63 days later in a den. A den may be located in a rock crevice or a hole dug by the parents or beneath a tree stump. The pups are born deaf and blind, but can hear within a 12 to 14 days. After 3 to 6 weeks, the pups usually leave the den and begin to investigate their surroundings, staying close to the safety of the den. As the pups mature, the pack moves to a more open area or "rendezvous site" within their territory. By fall the pups are large enough to travel and hunt with the pack. Wolves generally reach adult size by six to eight months of age and are usually sexually mature by 22 months.
Wolves are an extreamly adabtable animal, and they can live almost anywhere where prey is sufficient and Humans aren't too close. Some wolves live in foresty areas, with trees like Conifier trees (evergreen trees), and Decidous trees (leafy trees) They can also live on open moorland, but a bit of long grass would make them feel more comfortable. Wolves can live in marshes and swamps, however they can only live on the edges. The prey source depends on where a wolf pack lives. Their prey includes: elk, deer, bison, rabbits, birds, other rodents, some types of fish, and if food is scarce, they tend to prey upon farm cows and pigs. That means hunting wolf's prey may endanger cows in ranches near the wolf territory. Eskimos (or inuits) say: "The caribou feeds the wolf, but's it's the wolf who keeps the caribou strong."
Average lifespan in the wild is 8 - 10 years, but exeptional wolves can live to 13.