All wolves are supremely adaptable to their environment, but perhaps the most adaptable would be the arctic They have found a small space in the world where they are safe from the most dangerous predator of all…..man.
Arctic wolves live in packs of family members including the leaders, which are called the alpha male and female, and any unmated pups. In this harsh climate, wolves must endure up to five months per year of darkness, weeks without food and temperatures, that even into April, rarely rise above -22f.
Although they will eat any animal that they can catch, their main diet consists of musk oxen and caribou which they consume entirely, including hair, bone and skin. When hunting larger prey, wolves must hunt in packs, but with smaller prey, such as arctic hare and lemming they may hunt singly.
With no ground cover to speak of, a surprise attack isn’t an option, so as musk oxen see the wolves they form a circle with calves in the middle and adults facing out. If the attack is succeeds, the oxen will scatter, leaving the calves or weak members at risk.
An oxen will feed the pack for 2 or three days, meaning the difference between life and death, especially for the pups. When following caribou or musk oxen, a pack may have a hunting range of up to 800 miles
After mating, which usually occurs in March, the pregnant female will strike off on her own to deliver her pups.
Like all canines, the pups are born blind, deaf, and helpless. The female relies totally on her mate to bring her food to in turn nourish her pups. At about four weeks of age they begin to eat solid food and from there on the entire pack takes a hand in raising them with regurgitated food from kills, and keeping a watchful eye while the rest of the pack hunts.
The height at the shoulder of the average arctic wolf will vary from 21 to 35 inches,or about 3 feet from toe to head. Average nose to tail length is from three to five feet and a full grown male will weigh an average of 175 pounds.
In captivity they have been known to live for up to 17 years, but the normal in wild wolves is usually only around 7 years.
Wolves have been persecuted and nearly exterminated in the last century. They are feared mostly because people are uneducated about them and ignorance breeds fear.
If one would take the time to get to know the habits of an animal, and the reasons that they act in a certain way, most people would find them less fearsome.
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