Hi love! Please don’t be nervous ^^ Wolves are very territorial and usually kill other wolves and dogs who enter their territory. It’s not common that a pack let in a strange, unrelated adult wolf – let alone a dog. Wolves do often ‘let in’ related wolves, such as siblings of the breeding pair. When it comes to taking in unrelated wolf pups, it’s a different story – all wolves love pups and are ‘programmed’ to protect and nurture them. This can extend to pups that are not related to themselves, especially if the adopting pack has pups of its own already, and can extend to adopting orphaned dog pups (like you mentioned).
To answer your question: it’s possible that a dog joins a wolf pack, though it’s more likely to be killed (and probably eaten) by the pack if it tries to enter. Mostly when wolves and dogs crosses in the wild, happens when the wolf is a ‘lone’ wolf without a pack. A lone wolf is a wolf that dispersed from it’s parents pack, to wander around, trying to find a mate and a place to start it’s own family. It could happen a wolf joins up with a dog during mating season when none of their own species is ‘available’. It’s possible that the wolf and dog raise their own pack, resulting in pups that are crossbreeds. This might result in the observation of a dog appearing to be in a wolf pack when in fact it is in a pack of crossbreds related to it instead. Also, some wolves are always wandering alone and might interact with dogs but aren’t really a ‘pack’. The black wolf Romeo is an example of that – he was a lone wolf who hung out with dogs from the village Romeo lived close to.
In situations where wolves live in captivity – such as a sanctuary you are talking about – wolves are often more comfortable with dogs included in their packs. The dogs provide the needed canine interactions in the human setting.
Also interesting: Dogs do not pack up for the same reason as wolves. Wolves pack up for necessity with their offspring making the bulk of the pack. Dogs pack up for social cohesion.
It’s believed to be true, yeah. We don’t know much about it yet, but it is believed that wolves may be partially color blind - meaning they have only red and blue photo receptors in their eyes. Unlike humans, who have red, green, and blue photo receptors.
Little summary I made from a study I read:
In 1990, an Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos) pack on Ellesmere Isle had a breeding pair that likely was an older brother and a younger sister. The male, nicknamed Left Shoulder due to a big scar on his left shoulder, became the breeding male of the pack in 1988 - he then formed the breeding pair with his mother. In 1990, Left Shoulder’s younger sister called Whitey took over her mother’s ‘breeding female’ position at the age of three (born in 1987). Their mating from 1988 through 1994 would have considered inbreeding - assuming that Left Shoulder indeed was offspring of Whitey’s mother (the origin of Left Shoulder is unknown, but many things indicate he is offspring of Whitey’s mother).
Whitey’s productivity was low compared to that of her mother and to that of wolves in lower latitudes, which usually average litter sizes of five to six. This could be related to inbreeding depression if Whitey and Left Shoulder are siblings. However, at the high latitude where this pack resided, average litter sizes appear to be about two or three, so Whitey’s production may not be unusual.
I made this summary for you guys because it holds some nice information. This study gives some nice insight on pack structure and is a nice example of how inbreeding among wolves happens. It also shows that not all grown up wolves disperse from the pack to start a family on their own.
Also, something uncommon happened - Whitey dominated mom during summer 1989 (evidenced by her dominant posture, her behaviour towards mom, and her raised-leg urination). Whitey continued to dominate mom in the summer of 1990, but both Whitey and mom attended the den where Whitey’s single pup was. However, in 1991, Whitey had two pups and mom was nowhere to be seen. She came back later and Whitey thoroughly dominated and chased mom several times, but a little while later mom had reintegrated into the pack. She from then on attended the pups and accompanied the breeding pair on hunting trips and when the pair moved the pups - this is behaviour that is similar to that of a regular pack member.
It is not common that offspring of the breeding pair dominates one of the breeding wolves like this.
Source: “A Ten-year history of the demography and production of an Arctic wolf pack” by L. David Mech
When one of the parents die, usually another member of the pack replaces the parent’s leading role. Because in the common wolf pack all members of the pack are related, this often leads to incest (for example a daughter replacing her mother’s role leads into breeding with her dad). Sometimes a wolf pack consists out of more than just the parents and pups; the parents siblings or yearlings. In cases like that, when one of the parents dies, a wolf will replace the parent that died, but the rest of the pack will also continue to take care of the pups.
In case both parents die and the pack consists out of more than just breeding pair and pups (for example yearlings, or nieces/nephews/sisters/brothers from the breeding pair), one of them will take over the parents leading role. Since most wolves in the pack are related to the breeding pair, they are helping to ensure the survival of their own genes by caring for their nieces and nephews, sisters and brothers.
When both parents die and the pack only consists of a breeding pair and pups, there is no one to take over because the pups are too young. The pups probably can’t take care of themselves and will die. There is a change another wolf pair or pack will adopt them. All wolves love cubs and are programmed to protect and nurture them. This can extend to pups that are not related to themselves, especially if the adopting pack has pups of its own already.
If both parents die and the pups are almost full grown and can take care of themselves in some extent, I think the pack will probably disperse and try to start their own pack. ‘Try’ as in, their chances on survival depend on how old they are and how much their parents already taught them. I can also imagine one of the most developed young wolves will take over the breeding role of their parents. I read in scientific studies that from however related wolves the pack is build up (as in, how do the wolves relate to each other; random wolves, or bothers and sisters, etc.) – there is always a need for the structure of a breeding pair who leads the pack. There’s been studies done in which they followed wolf packs from who one of the breeding pair died. In those cases odd composed packs formed (for example two male wolves who were brothers and a new, unrelated female wolf who joined and paired with one of the brothers), but they all had in common a structure of a leading breeding pair. This studies concluded that apparently, wolves instinctively always seek for this structure in whatever unnatural group they end up or formed.
Wolves are omnivores! Thought if they had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of their life, it would be meat. But they also eat a lot of other things like berries and fruit. Especially when it’s a hard time hunting and they’re hungry, but even when there’s enough meat they will still look for other things than meat to eat. If they have to, they can live on only vegetable material and fruit products.
On why wolves like pumpkins so much: they apparently think it tastes good, and I can imagine it’s fun to try get a piece off with their tooth and claws, and chew on it / play with it. Pumpkins are very thick and hard to cut, and there are thick threads in it which I can imagine makes it a lot of fun to try and rip a piece of. Also, at some wolf centers they put traits inside the pumpkins and let the wolves play with it and try to get it out :)
Probably easier to spot in the winter/snow, yeah :)
I think it’s an enumeration of several things: the majority of wolf pictures out there on the internet are of the typical Gray wolf (Canis lupus) and it’s subspecies. Those apparently are the most ‘popular’ kind of wolves, and also the ones that are the most in numbers nowadays.
Those kinds of wolves often live in areas where there’s snow. In addition to that, the colour of their fur blends in more with their environment when there isn’t any snow (except for white coated wolves, of course) - so when there’s snow they stand out more.
If you go to my tag ‘wolf pup’, you’ll see many pictures that show wolf pups come in many different colours.
The wolf pups from the Sawtooth pack are a perfect example; below is a picture of a Gray wolf pup from the Sawtooth pack with black fur that stayed black when growing up.
I believe not all wolf pups that are born with black fur always stay black (can’t say for sure because I don’t remember well)
No, you’re not sounding dumb at all :) There’s no such thing as ‘dumb’ on my blog.
Incest is very common among wolves. Though usually, when offspring is mature and want to start their own family, they leave their pack, then wander around being a lone wolf until they have found a partner and a territory that isn’t occupied yet and that has enough prey, to there start their own family. Usually they disperse from their parent’s pack as far as possible to prevent incest.
Still, incest happens pretty often. For example in places where the wolves can’t disperse (the isolated Isle Royale is a perfect example of this). Or when one of the breeding wolves die, one of the offspring replaces his/her role, which means parents mating with offspring.
Yes, it still is correct to use the term ‘omega’ (both ‘lowest ranking wolf’ and ‘omega’ are correct), just like it is still correct to use terms like ‘alpha’. The problem is/was that these terms were used in the wrong contexts. The correct way to use these these ranking term is in case of an artificially composed wolf pack, such as occurs in zoos. There wolf packs aren’t formed in the way it naturally happens; a male and female starting a family unit. If you want to read more about this, here is a link on an article I wrote on the misconception on the term ‘alpha’.
They do hunt with the rest of the pack. During a fight between rival neighbouring wolf packs, the omega wolf fights as well. It is possible that the omega will be killed first, simply because omega wolves often gained their status because there are the weakest wolf of the pack, which would make them most likely to be killed first. I don’t know whether wolves from another pack can see/know who is the omega wolf, and even if they could I doubt if they would choose to kill the omega first.
Another misconception on the ‘omega’ is that this lowest ranking wolf is nothing more than the scapegoat of the pack. While in fact, the omega wolf often is one of the most important peace makers and often take the initiative in playing, which helps to ease tensions in the pack. Omegas are not at all ‘hated’ by the rest of the wolves, despite of what many people believe. A perfect example of this is Lakota, a Gray wolf from the famous Sawtooth pack who was the omega for many years. The documentary on these wolves called ‘Living with wolves’ (watch online here) perfectly shows that even though he has the lowest rank and must constantly submit to his fellow pack members, every other wolf in the pack love him and care for him the same as they do for the other wolves. One of my favourite moments is when the wolves are playing, the Alpha male accidentally knocks over the Omega when running, and he comes back to check if the Omega is alright and gives him a little nuzzle.