Anonymous asked:
Can you tell me more about wolves mating for life? Because monogamy in case of wolves is not that much obvious. They mate, for example, with one partner for a few years, and then with another for several years. Is there any scientific evidence of wolves mating with one partner for the lifetime?

(Assuming you’re the same anon from previous message)

A pack is essentially a family group, comprising an adult pair which typically mate for life, and their offspring of one or more years. (Mech, 1970), (Nowak, R. “Walker’s Carnivores of the World, 2005) A few exceptions have been revealed by both field and genetic study. (Lehman et al., 1992), (Mech and Nelson, 1990)

Most packs are low-density population packs. In low-density populations, wolves are typically monogamous, although of course there are exceptions (Mech, D., Boitani, L., “Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation”, 2003, p.38), (D. Smith et al. 1997) Monogamous relationships are common in nuclear families as long as (1) offspring are not reproductively mature, (2) the breeders are more attracted to each other than to their offspring, and (3) courtship between sibs is interrupted. (Mech, D., Boitani, L., “Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation”, 2003, p.58)

Of course it’s important to remember that wolves their average lifespan in the wild is about 8 years on average, while in captivity they easily live up to 14. So the reason why wolves change partners after a few years like you stated, is mostly because their current partner perished, not because wolves are polygamous.

So yeah,


^you                          ^me

Great plains wolf (Canis lupus nubilus)

Also known as the buffalo wolfdusky wolf or loafer. Once roamed from the west of the United States to the south of Canada, but since 1930 the Great plains wolf is almost extinct. In 2004, only about 3700 of them were left in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.


(Source: wolveswolves)

fox-cache asked:
I hate to add to your already massive inbox, but I was wondering if the black and grey colouration only occurs in old wolves, or if it can happen with younger wolves? Thank you! :)

(I’m assuming you mean the combination of black and gray in a single wolf’s fur - correct me if I’m wrong)

It’s typical for an older, black coated wolf to gain gray “highlights” as a result of age, but this can appear in a wolf’s fur no matter the age.

Here are some real gorgeous black-and-gray fur colours ranging from predominantly black to predominantly gray









Anonymous asked:
Hi there! Just a quick question - I was wondering what blood types wolves have. I couldn't really find it on the internet, though I did find the blood types wolves have. Do they share the same blood types? If not, do you perhaps have a source about blood types of wolves? I hope it's not much of a bother. Thank you! ^-^

I never learned anything about this, so I did some quick research but could only find something for canines in general.

Canine blood types are denoted by “DEA,” (Dog Erythrocyte Antigen). They are broken down into eight categories:
DEA 1.1
DEA 1.2

This article may be of interest to you. Good luck!

Anonymous asked:
Okay I've got another perhaps strange question (like the blood type one): do wolves have a preference for using a certain side, like left or right, like humans do? Say, open door first a preferred paw or whatever?

Yes! Like most animals, each individual wolf has a preference in handedness.

run-margie-run asked:
How do you explain Lukas's eye color? (One of the past wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center) They almost look ice blue

 Though mature wolves do not retain blue as an eye color, gray or green eyes can sometimes appear blue from certain angles or in certain lights or surroundings. Lukas’s eyes were an extremely light gray, which causes them to be reflective of his environment. Here’s a picture of Lukas:


This is another case of a wolf called Ruedi at Wolf Park, who is also famous for his appearing blue eyes.

Why is Canada’s wolf population splitting in two?

Chester Starr of the Heiltsuk First Nation knows that the wolves of British Columbia come in two varieties: timber wolves on the mainland and coastal wolves on the islands. Genetic research has finally confirmed what Starr’s tribe has always known.

It was Starr’s “traditional ecological knowledge" that initially inspired Polish Academy of Sciences researcher Astrid V. Stronen and University of Calgary scientist Erin Navid to take a closer look at British Columbia’s wolves. They wanted to see whether the Heiltsuk Nation’s folk knowledge was reflected in the wolves’ genes.

The puzzling thing is that wolves are capable of moving over vast geographical distances. They can easily travel more than 70 kilometers per day without even breaking a sweat. They can cross valleys and mountains, and can swim across rivers and even small channels of sea. Yet Stronen, Navid, and colleagues found stark genetic distinctions among wolf groups in an area just 2000 square kilometers.

Why are there such clear genetic groupings among wolf groups who ought to be able to intermix?

According to the researchers, it’s all about what they eat. Despite the tiny distances between the mainland and the islands – sometimes less than 1500 meters of water – there are tremendous ecological distinctions. The mainland is rugged and is home to tons of wildlife, while the islands are less mountainous and host fewer species. On the mainland, grizzly bears compete with wolves, but on islands, wolves are the top dogs. On the mainland, wolves can feast on moose and mountain goats. On the islands, wolves rely on marine resources, like fish, for 85% of their diets.

espite their ability to travel great distances, some animals’ behavior becomes so specialized, thanks to the environment into which they were born, that they wind up sticking close to home.

Why Is Canada's Wolf Population Splitting Into Two Groups?

It’s an important reminder that nature and nurture, genetics and environment, are more tightly linked than it might seem at first. Chimpanzees and bonobos only diverged some three million years ago (our species last shared an ancestor with them around six million years ago), but today couldn’t be more different. As with the wolves of British Columbia, researchers think that the remarkable differences in chimpanzee and bonobo culture originate, at least in part, in their diets. Chimpanzees evolved in forests with fewer dietary resources than bonobos did. Fruits are a bit harder to come by for chimps, which may explain why they evolved to be more competitive. Bonobos, on the other hand, evolved in a land of plenty. The reduced competition over food may have led the so-called “hippie ape” towards greater tolerance and cooperation. Even small differences in diet and in foraging and hunting styles can have massive implications for the evolution of a group of animals.

The distinction between coastal and mainland wolves, in some ways, mirrors the distinction between polar and grizzly bears. It is thought that the two bear species diverged because polar bears evolved in regions where they relied on the sea to provide their food, while grizzly bears remained skilled at hunting on dry land. Like polar bears, those wolves who found their way to the islands have simply become skilled at fishing, causing them to remain in marine landscapes. Will the wolves of British Columbia follow in the footsteps of the bears, splitting into two different species? Only time will tell.

It doesn’t matter if an animal is physically capable of dispersing over large distances. Instead, what matters is whether they can thrive in environments distinct from the ones in which they learned to survive. Even one neighborhood over, a wolf that was a master fisherman might starve if faced with the task of taking down a massive moose.


Read the whole open-access paper at BMC Ecology

(Source: wolveswolves)

finliox asked:
So the other day I was in a zoo and it was feeding time. One wolf had a cut on her leg and had diffuculty walking. As soon as she tried to get something of the food she got attacked. Is she just low in the pecking order or does the cut make her weak and therefore not worth feeding?

First off, it’s important to understand that pack dynamics in an artificially composed wolf pack such as occurs in zoos are completely different from wolf packs as they occur in the wild. Wolf packs in zoos often exist out of unrelated wolves randomly being put together, resulting in the pack being an aggressive assortment of wolves consistently competing with each other to take over the pack, because there is no natural pack composition (natural composition: a breeding pair automatically becomes the “leading” pair - comparable to human families). In these cases, ranking terms such as “alpha”, “beta”, and “omega” still applies. This competing is often done by physical fighting, and it’s not uncommon that this fighting is reinforced because of the high levels of stress these captive wolves in zoos have. They often injur each other, and sometimes in extreme circumstances even themselves.

It’s possible the wolf’s cut on it’s leg was a result of this, or maybe it was just an accident. Either way, in these unnatural circumstances an injured wolf makes low ranking and in these extremes would mean she’s not worth of, or entitled to food. She’ll have to wait until the other wolves are finished with their food, before she can have any.

The described above is a result of extreme, unnatural and artificial circumstances that these wolves have to adapt to, and not at all typical behavior for wild wolves. In the wild, wolves will usually take great care of injured pack mates, since natural wolf packs typically are an extremely close family existing out of wolves that are all related to each other, with an unconditional love for one another. There are a lot of examples of wolves bringing food to their injured friends and even pre-chewing meat for them.

If you want to read more on ranking terms and why they are outdated, look here!

pinquot asked:
In the video you just posted and others I have seen, wolves seem to like biting and chewing on sticks. Is this just regular "play" behavior or is there a purpose to doing that?

Chewing and biting on sticks is a way to ‘brush their teeth’, using sticks and bark as toothpicks. It’s also good for their jaw and teeth. Sometimes they also eat it to satisfy their hunger.

It indeed also often is just play behavior. Here’s an amazing video I shot of some wolves jumping into a tree to rip off bark to chew on and play with!

run-margie-run asked:
I'm watching a nature show about animal courtship, and wolves came up. How long do wolves "get to know each other" before choosing a partner for life, and mating? Also, (if this isn't too embarrassing), they said that when mating, the pair are "locked together" physically. How is this? (You don't have to be too detailed if you don't want to, lol)

It’s not embarrassing at all - it’s a very interesting subject! :)

On wolves bonding: When wolves are sexually mature, they disperse from their pack to find a mate and their own territory to start a pack. This happens when they are about 1 – 3 years of age. The mating season is typically from January to March. Once a wolf found a mate, the two of them bond until it’s the mating season and then mate. So the duration of the bonding time can be different for each “couple”; a couple that got together in November has shorter bonding time than a couple that got together in May.

“When two wolves are about to mate, they bond, sleeping close and touching each other more and more. They will approach each other making quiet whining sounds, mouth each others muzzles, touch noses, and bump there bodies together. There may be mutual grooming and nibbling of each other’s coats and the two may walk pressed close together. The Male may bow to the female, toss and tilt his head, and lay his legs over her neck in what could only be described as a flirting manner. The two may even sleep side by side.” [X]

On physically being locked together during mating: Wolves have, just like all carnivora, a penis bone (‘baculum’) that supports the erectile tissue. Once the wolves are mating, the penis swells even more and pinch the muscles of the vagina strongly to the penis. This is to ensure that the sperm actually reaches the ovaries. The how and why about this development is difficult to answer, just like many other evolutionary questions. Wolves live in packs that often consist out of more than the breeding pair (relatives from the breeding pair, or yearlings). So during mating, there often are other animals from the pack on site, so a mating female wolf runs little risk, except perhaps from other jealous wolves - and in that case it is good that her partner can not leave prematurely.

Anonymous asked:
Hello there :) I hope I won't be bothering you at all with this question but I have not had much luck with research. I'm a student in the uk from London and I'm currently studying animal behaviour and management at college. I was wondering if you knew anything about how wolves communicate using taste ? I'm working on a assignment about how wolves communicate using the 5 senses. I'm terribly sorry if I am bothering you

Hello! First of all, I am so incredibly jealous of your education! I did a little research and found this for you:

Some avenues wolves communicate through are more researched/researchable than others. For example, sound and scent are fairly well documented whereas touch and taste are less easy to investigate.

"The role of taste in wolf communication has been difficult to assess. It is important to realise that it usually greatly interacts with other signals such as smell. Dogs have been found to possess receptors for salt, bitter, acid and sweet – thus wolves probably do as well.

Taste may be involved in the transmission of pheromonal information contained in urine and other substances. It may also be involved when adults and pups lick the muzzles of other wolves for food-begging. Grooming stimulated by blood on the muzzle or head of a pack mate may be reinforced by taste. The methodical grooming of pups by their mothers suggest that their fur may contain a pleasant-tasting substance not present in older animals – but again, all of these examples could be spurred on by scent signals.” [X]

"Investigation of taste are made difficult by the fact that the influence of smell often plays a major role in the way a food "tastes." It is known that canines possess taste receptors for the four taste categories: salty, bitter, sweet, and acidic. Felines on the other hand, do not respond to sweetness. The sweetness receptivity would be adaptive use to wolves, as sweet berries and other fruits do play a minor role in their diet." [X]

Sources I found for you:

Anonymous asked:
Hey! I was wondering if you knew whether dogs like Huskies and Malamutes are more closely related to wolves than other breeds? My Husky rarely barks; he just howls. I didn't know if this was a thing or not.

Yes, both Huskies and Malamutes are more closely related to wolves than other domestic dog breeds.

Domestic dogs have about 99% of their genes in common with one another. But a few very distinct genetic differences separate them into about 400 dog breeds known worldwide. All domestic dog breeds are almost identical in relatedness to wolves. The DNA structure of domestic dogs is only about 0,2% different from wolves.

A recent study claims that several dogs whose origins date back to antiquity are also the most genetically similar to wolves — the very oldest ones being from Asia, such as the Shar-pei and the Chow, and from Africa, such as the Basenji. Others, like the Afghan, come from the Middle East, while the Siberian husky and others come from the Arctic [source].

Note that looks can be deceiving; Huskies and Malamutes have a wolf-like appearance, but the extent to which a certain dog breed looks like a wolf stands apart from the extend to how closely related to wolves they are. For example, a Shih Tzu (which the authors of the recent study I talked about assigned to the ancient group of Asian dogs) is more closely related to the wolf than a German shepherd is.

List of the fourteen ancient breeds that show the fewest genetic differences from wolves [source]:

(Note that this study was done on 85 different dog breeds, and as there are some 400 known dog breeds (of which the AKC recognizes 167), it is possible that an extended study would reveal additional “ancient” breeds)

Siberian Huskies are one of the dog breeds that actually howl more often than other dogs. Huskies are known to communicate less by barking and more in “talking”, “singing” and howling noises, but this has nothing to do with them being more related to wolves than other dog breeds.

Anonymous asked:
I used to work as a park ranger during the summers in a provincial park in Ontario, Canada. We kept track of the major packs in the area. We named them out of habit. One pack in specific, had a breeding pair, Clair and Derek. In one of the last summers I worked there, Clair was pregnant, but unfortunately, Derek had gotten very sick and passed away. Another female, Aria, had taken Derek's place. Is it common for homosexuality in wolves? Are "gay" couples or "lesbian" couples more common?

Displaying homosexual behavior is very common among wolves, Just like most animals, wolves have been observed engaging sexual behavior such as resembling mating behavior with a wolf of the same sex, sometimes even in preference for opposite sex when options were available. Male wolves often mount each other, but this is in a dominance displaying way. I don’t know whether gay wolves or lesbian wolves are more common. 

We can’t tell whether a wolf is actually aware or not that there is a distinction between sexual attraction to it’s own sex and that to the other, but we do call wolves engaging in such behavior homosexual.

If you want, you can read some more about it in Joan Roughgarden’s book ‘Evolution’s rainbow: diversity, gender, and sexuality in nature and people’, and in addition to that, just by giving it a search online you’ll find lots of interesting stuff!

Also, in your case it depends on what you mean by “she had taken her place”. This is most likely an occurence that stands apart from Aria and Clair being homosexual or not. All wolves love pups and are “programmed” to protect and nurture them, and when one of the parents in a wolf pack dies, another adult member of the pack usually replaces the parent’s leading role. Whether this is a female or male wolf taking over Derek’s place, has nothing to do with their sexuality - unless Aria and Clair are exhibiting sexual behavior. 

Anonymous asked:
what age do wolf pups usually howl for the first time?

About two weeks of age, wolf pups begin to stand and walk, and their vocalizations starts to include growls, whimpering and squeaks, and high-pitched attempts at howling.

Anonymous asked:
Out of interest, what are the colour variations of canis lupus and other wolf subspecies? Thank you for your time :)

Colour variations per wolf specie:

- Gray wolves (Canis lupus) can have coat colours or colour combination ranging from black, grey, white (though never a pure white as seen in dogs), brown, blonde, “silver”, reddish/orange. The Gray wolf has a lot of subspecies, and each subspecie has it’s own variation in colour. Some can come in all colours named above, whereas other Gray wolf subspecies for example only come in white. Some colour possibilities in Gray wolves:

imageEntirely black [X]

imageBlack and grey [X]

imageDifferent shades of grey [X]

imageVery light grey [X]

imageBig contrast [X]

imageLittle contrast [X]

imageGrey white black brown [X]

imageBrown/reddish with whites and blacks [X]

imageBrown and black with some greys [X]

imageBrown and black [X]

imageLight brownish/sandish [X]

imageBlonde [X]

imageSilverish [X]

imageWhite [X]

imageWhite with some grey and/or black variations [X]

All of the pictured above of course can have lots of variations - especially the darkness/brightness and contrast. No wolf looks the same.

If you want to know the colour possibilities of a certain Gray wolf subspecie, you can easily find that online.

- Red wolves (Canis rufus) always have a combination of the colours orange/reddish, brown and grey, with black markings and along with some white parts and some black parts like the tip of their tail:image[X]

- Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis) are orange with white, with some grey and black markings:image[X]

Also, here's a nice chart with pictures of some wolf subspecies that shows the typical coat colour for each subspecies.