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 General Wolf Information

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PostSubject: General Wolf Information   Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:23 pm

Basic Wolf Information
Wolves tend to reach their adult size at 1-2 years old and their full weight at 3-4 years old. After a large meal, a wolf can gain up to 15 pounds extra and than lose the weight before its next large meal.

Wolf weight and size can vary greatly worldwide. In general, height varies from 0.6 to .95 meters and (26–38 inches) at the shoulder. Wolf weight varies geographically; on average, European wolves may weigh 38.5 kg (85 lbs), North American wolves 36 kg (80 lbs), and Indian and Arabian wolves 25 kg (55 lbs). Though rarely encountered, extreme specimens of more than 77 kg (170 lb.) have been recorded in Alaska, Canada, and the former Soviet Union. The heaviest recorded gray wolf is 86 kg (189 lb.). Grey wolves are sexually dimorphic, with females in any given wolf population typically weighing 20% less than males. Females also have narrower muzzles and foreheads; slightly shorter, smoother furred legs; and less massive shoulders. Gray wolves can measure anywhere from 1.3 to 2 meters (4.5–6.5 feet) from nose to the tip of the tail, which itself accounts for approximately one quarter of overall body length.

Wolves rely on their stamina rather than speed for hunting. Their narrow chests and powerful backs and legs facilitate efficient locomotion. They are capable of covering several miles trotting at about a pace of 10 km/h (6 mph), and have been known to reach speeds approaching 65 km/h (40 mph) during a chase.

Their paws are able to tread easily on a wide variety of terrains, especially snow. There is a slight webbing between each toe, which allows them to move over snow more easily than comparatively hampered prey. Gray wolves are digitigrade, which, with the relative largeness of their feet, helps them to distribute their weight well on snowy surfaces. The front paws are larger than the hind paws, and have a fifth digit, the dewclaw, that is absent on hind paws.

Fur Characteristics


Wolves molt some of their coats in late spring or early summer.Wolves have bulky coats consisting of two layers. The first layer is made up of tough guard hairs that repel water and dirt. The second is a dense, water-resistant undercoat that insulates. The undercoat is shed in the form of large tufts of fur in late spring or early summer (with yearly variations). A wolf will often rub against objects such as rocks and branches to encourage the loose fur to fall out. The undercoat is usually gray regardless of the outer coat's appearance. Wolves have distinct winter and summer pelages that alternate in spring and autumn. Females tend to keep their winter coats further into the spring than males.

Fur coloration varies greatly, running from gray to gray-brown, all the way through the canine spectrum of white, red, brown, and black. These colors tend to mix in many populations to form predominantly blended individuals, though it is not uncommon for an individual or an entire population to be entirely one color (usually all black or all white).

At birth, wolf pups tend to have darker fur and blue irises that will change to a yellow-gold or orange color when the pups are between 8 and 16 weeks old

Dietary Habits

Wolves feed primarily on medium to large sized ungulates, though they are opportunistic feeders, and will generally eat any meat that is available, including non-ungulate species, carrion and garbage. Cannibalism is not uncommon in wolves, and has been recorded to occur in times of food scarcity, when a pack member dies, and during territorial disputes.

Wolf packs numbering above 2 individuals show little strategic cooperation in hunting large prey. Wolves typically attempt to conceal themselves as they approach their prey. Often, they will wait for the prey to graze, when it is distracted. If the prey animal stands its ground or confronts the pack, the wolves will approach and threaten it. The wolves will eventually leave if their prey does not run, though the length of time can range from hours to days. If their prey attempts to flee, the wolves will give chase

Packs composed largely of female wolves thrive on fleet footed prey such as elk, while packs specializing in bison tend to have a greater number of males. Though commonly portrayed as targeting solely sick or infirm animals, there is little evidence that they actively limit themselves to such targets. Rather, the evidence shows that wolves will simply target the easiest options available, which as well as sick and infirm animals, can also include young animals and pregnant females. Though wolves commonly hunt large prey in packs, there are cases in which single wolves have successfully killed large animals unaided. One wolf was recorded to have killed moose 11 times single handedly.

Wolves will typically attempt to disable large prey by tearing at the haunches and perineum, causing massive bleeding and loss of coordination. A single bite can cause a wound up to 10–15 cm in length. A large deer in optimum health generally succumbs to three bites at the perineum area after a chase of 150 metres. Once their prey is sufficiently weakened, the wolves will grab it by the flanks and pull it down.Sometimes, with medium sized prey such as dall sheep, wolves will bite the throat, severing the windpipe or jugular. When attacking canid prey, such as dogs, coyotes or other wolves, wolves will kill by biting the back, neck or head. With prey of equal or lesser weight to the wolf, such as lambs or small children, wolves will grab their quarry by the neck, chest, head or thigh and carry them off to a secluded spot. Once the prey collapses, the wolves will tear open the abdominal cavity and commence feeding on the animal, sometimes before it has died. On some occasions, wolves will not press an attack, and will wait for their prey to die from their wounds before feeding begins.

Wolf Interactions

Pack status is reinforced during feeding. The breeding pair usually eats first, starting with the heart, liver, and lungs. Wolves of intermediate rank will prevent lower ranking pack members from feeding until the dominant pair finishes eating. The stomach of prey is eaten, though the contents are left untouched if the killed animal is a herbivore. The leg muscles are eaten next, with the hide and bones being the last to be consumed. If they are disturbed while feeding, they will instead focus their attention on their prey's fat deposits rather than internal organs. A single wolf can eat up to 3.2–3.5 kg of food at a time, though they can eat as much as 13–15 kg when sufficiently hungry. A wolf's yearly requirement is 1.5 tons of meat. Wolves can go without sustenance for long periods, with a Russian record showing how one specimen survived for 17 days without food. Research has shown that 2 weeks without food will not weaken a wolf's muscle activity. After eating, wolves will drink large quantities of water to prevent uremic poisoning. A wolf's stomach can hold up to 7.5 litres of water. Wolves supplement their diet with vegetation

Predatory Relationships

Wolves typically dominate other canid species in areas where they are sympatric. Wolves have been reported to dig coyote pups from their dens and kill them. Wolves typically do not consume the coyotes they kill. There are no records of coyotes killing wolves, though they have been known to gang up on wolves if they outnumber them. Wolves have been observed to allow coyotes to approach their kills, only to chase them down and kill them.

Brown Bears usually amount to nothing more than mutual avoidance. Serious confrontations depend on the circumstances of the interaction, though the most common factor is defence of food and young. Brown Bears will use their superior size to intimidate wolves from their kills and when sufficiently hungry, will raid wolf dens. Brown Bears usually dominate wolves on kills, though they rarely prevail against wolves defending den sites. Wolves in turn have been observed killing bear cubs, to the extent of even driving off the defending mother bears. Deaths in wolf/bear skirmishes are considered very rare occurrences, the individual power of the brown bear and the collective strength of the wolf pack usually being sufficient deterrents to both sides.

Wolves have been recorded to kill Black Bears on numerous occasions without eating them. Unlike Brown Bears, Black Bears frequently lose against wolves in disputes over kills. While encounters with brown and black bears appear to be common, polar bears are rarely encountered by wolves, though there are two records of wolf packs killing polar bear cubs.


Size Chart
Average
Height: 26 - 33 inches at the shoulder
Length: 6.5 ft. (including tail)
Weight: Can weigh up to 175 lb.


Breeding
Maturity:Two years old.
Gestation: 9 weeks.
Mating: January through March
Litter Number: One to eleven pups

On this site we encourage creativity so you do not have to follow all of this information for your character exactly but do keep realistic features with your character.

Source sites: Carnivora , Bear Country U.S.A.


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