Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild


The Ethiopian wolf is one of the world’s rarest mammals.  They are very fox-like in appearance; with a reddish coat with white undersides and a black tip to the tail.  The wolf’s undercoat provides it with insulation at temperatures as low as -15oC. Females are usually slightly paler than the males and become more golden in colour in the breeding season.

(c) Martin Harvey

Ethiopian wolves are highly sociable and live in packs of between 3 and 12 individuals.  They are most active during the day, which is also when their prey is active.  They tend to hunt and forage for food alone but meet up as a pack to patrol their territory at dawn and dusk. They rest together at night, curled up in the open with their nose under their tail.

Ethiopian wolves make several types of vocalization. Alarm calls are given off at the sight or scent of humans, dogs, or unfamiliar wolves. They start with a "huff" and are followed by a series of yelps and barks. Greeting calls consist of growls and whines, and group “yip-howls” when pack members reunite. An Ethiopian wolf can hear another’s howls from 5 km away, an ability used for long distance communication.

(c) Martin Harvey
(c) Martin Harvey

Male wolves rarely leave the pack in which they were born, whereas females often leave their natal pack when they are mature to seek breeding opportunities elsewhere. The dominant female of each pack gives birth once a year between October and December, to a litter of two to six pups.  They are born a charcoal grey colour and develop their red coat over a number of weeks, living inside the den for 3-4 weeks. The father of the pups is usually from a neighbouring group in order to avoid inbreeding. Other members of the pack will help rear the pups by guarding the den and feeding them.

Males: Dog
Females: Bitch
Max speed: 30 mph
Body Height: 53-62cm
Tail length: 27-40cm
Body Length: 105-160cm
Weight: 11-17kg
Life Expectancy: 8-10 years
Diet: rodents, hares, birds, insects
REGION: North America, Europe, Russia
HABITAT: Grassland, heathland
Found in: Ethiopia
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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