Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild


The grey wolf is the largest wild member of the dog family.  They have grizzled (tipped with grey) coats, with grey, black, and light brown fur covering their head and upper body, and paler fur on the legs and underside. Their hearing is so good that they can hear a leaf falling from a tree, and their sense of smell is 100 times better than that of a human.

(C) Shawn Kinkade

Wolves are perhaps best known for their legendary howl, which they use to communicate with each other. They will howl to assemble the pack (before and after a hunt), to pass on an alarm (especially near the den site), to find each other in unfamiliar territory or during a storm and to communicate across great distances.  They can hear another wolf howling from at least 3 to 4 miles away.

Wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of 4-10 animals on average.  The pack is made up of the parent wolves, called the alpha male and female, along with their pups and several other lesser or young animals. The alpha male and female are the pack leaders that establish the territory, track and hunt prey, choose the den site and protect the family unit.  Usually, this pair is the only one of the pack to breed, and often remains together for life. All of the pack's adults help to care for the young pups by bringing them food and helping to protect them.

(C) Gunnar Ries
(C) Zakarri

Although grey wolves can run at great speeds, when hunting they tend to rely on their stamina. When chasing down prey that is much larger than themselves, they will pursue it over several miles in order to exhaust it, before going in for the kill. A wolf can consume 9 kg of meat in one go. Wolves will also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and even fruit. A wolf pack will travel around 15 miles per day.

Wolves are very strong for their size, possessing enough strength to turn over a frozen horse or moose carcass.

Although the grey wolf is relatively widespread, its original worldwide range has been reduced by around one third.  Overall, the greatest threat to wolves is people's fear and misunderstanding of them. Many fairy tales and myths have portrayed wolves as evil, dangerous creatures so they have been hunted and victimised by man. Wolves became extinct in Britain in the 1700s.

Males: Dog
Females: Bitch
Body Height (shoulder to floor): 80-85cm
Tail length: 30-50cm
Body Length: 105-160cm
Weight: 18-79kg
Life Expectancy: 6-8 years
Diet: Rabbits, foxes, squirrels, mice, eggs, birds, lizards
REGION: North America, Europe, Russia
HABITAT: Mountains, forests, grasslands, woodlands
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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