Wolves have been around as long as humans. Some of the earliest documented encounters with wolves dates back to cave drawings that are believed to be over 20,000 years old. The wolf is generally seen as a brave, courageous animal, but the opposite is actually true.
If a wolf encounters an unfamiliar situation, they are more likely to turn and run away instead of confront the situation head-on. If the wolf is in a pack, however, there is a greater chance of confrontation.
Interesting Facts About Wolves
#1. Wolves are the largest members of the Canidae family. This is the same family of animals that includes dogs, foxes, and coyotes.
#2. The wolf has a powerful nose that can track scents about 2 kilometers away. This is because there are more than 200 million scent receptor cells in their nose. In comparison, humans only have about 5 million of these cells.
#3. Wolves have adopted a unique running style which helps them to turn quickly and prevent unintentional injuries to the pads on their feet. By running on their toes, they are also able to stop very quickly.
#4. There are only two recognized species of wolf in the world today: the grey wolf and the red wolf. There are 30+ subspecieces that fall into these two main categories. Red wolves tend to have short fur and long legs compared to their grey wolf cousins.
#5. The muscles in the jaw of a wolf are incredibly powerful. The 42 teeth that a wolf may have can compress in a bite of over 1,500 pounds per square inch. That’s about double the power that the strongest domestic dog is able to offer. Part of the reason for this added force is the fact that a wolf can open up their mouths further than dogs.
#6. Wolves typically run in packs. A mated pair qualifies as their own pack. Most packs will limit themselves to 10-12 wolves, but packs of 30 or more have been observed. When wolves choose a mate, they will typically stay together for life. The alpha couple are often the only wolves that mate within a pack and the other wolves will help to care for the cubs once they are born.
#7. Wolves have webbing between their toes, which allows them to be powerful swimmers. A wolf may swim for nearly 15 kilometers in a single day if the need should arise.
#8. The wolf is an extremely fast animal, achieving a top speed of nearly 40 miles per hour in short stretches. It can maintain a speed of over 20 miles per hour for long distances. No matter how fast they are, there is a good chance that a flock of ravens will follow them. Ravens have learned that they can pick over a kill after a wolf pack is done with it.
Live Wolf Cams
Wolves were nearly hunted to extinction in North America by 1900. Their population numbers have been growing thanks to recent preservation efforts. These efforts can often be viewed with webcams that stream 24/7.
Wolves communicate through howling and may even respond to humans who imitate their call.