Wolves

I have always loved wolves.  They are one of the most majestic animals on the earth, in my opinion.  I had the great fortune of owning a 1/2 pure bred German Shepherd 1/2 wild timber wolf for 15 years.
His disposition was exceptional.  He "baby-sat" my daughter when she was young, stalwart guard of my family, and loyal beyond doubt.  I know there are those who would shudder at the thought of this kind of dog in the house, but my 2 1/2 year old daughter would ride him pony style with no fear.  I am grateful that he was such a big part of my life, and miss him still. An old pic from an old camera.

Basic Facts

Average length (tip of nose to tip of tail)
females: 4.5 to 6 feet  
males: 5 to 6.5 feet
females: 60 to 80 pounds
males: 70 to 110 pounds
Number of teeth 42 teeth
Gray wolves are not always gray in color, they can be gray, but can also be black or white

Wolves are the largest members of the dog family.
The grey wolf is known as the timber wolf in North America, the white wolf in the Arctic or generally as the common wolf.
The howl of a wolf is his trademark, which they use to communicate. Howls are to attract the attention of the pack, while pack howls may send territorial messages . Some howls are confrontational or given as a warning and may be answered by rival packs. Much like barking domestic dogs, wolves may simply begin howling because a nearby wolf has already begun.

Interesting Facts

All the wolves in a pack take care of the pups. When very small, other pack members bring food to the mother so she does not have to leave the pups. When the pups are a little larger, pack members take turns bringing them food, playing with them and even baby-sitting.
Once a wolf has found a mate, they usually stay together for life. 
Wolves have many distinctive facial expressions that are used to communicate and maintain pack unity.
They have a complex and organised social structure, maintained by dominant or submissive body posturing.
The earliest drawings of wolves are in caves in southern Europe .
Wolves run on their toes, which helps them to stop and turn quickly and to prevent their paw pads from wearing down.
Wolves have an estimated 200 million scent detecting cells while humans have only about 5 million. Wolves can smell other animals more than one mile away.
Wolves can hear as far as six miles away in the forest and ten miles on the tundra.
Wolves have long been admired and feared.  They are found in European legends, childrens stories, (as the bad guy), and in tribal beliefs as well. The Cherokee Indians did not hunt wolves because they believed a slain wolves’ brothers would exact revenge. Furthermore, if a weapon were used to kill a wolf, the weapon would not work correctly again.
In Amerindian cultures, the wolf is seen as a pathfinder and great teacher.
​On average, gray wolves will eat 20 to 30 pounds of meat in one meal.

Did You Know?

A wolf's is bite is extremely powerful and is concentrated in his jaw. It has a crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pound per square inch (compared with around 750 for a large dog).
Wolves feed their young until they can eat meat, (usually 3 weeks}, by carrying chewed-up food in their stomachs and
"regurgitating", the food for the pups . 
Wolf pups love to play.
The pups will play with each other and their older brothers and sisters, stalking and pouncing on each other. This teaches them the techniques of stalking and killing prey and learning the social interactions of the pack.
​A light-reflecting layer on a wolf’s eye called the tapetum lucidum (Latin for “bright tapestry”) causes a wolf’s eyes to glow in the dark and may also facilitate night vision.

Contrary to popular belief, wolves DO NOT howl at the moon.
 Wolf howls may be heard by the human ear up to ten miles away with  good weather conditions.
 While howling, wolves change pitch to achieve harmonic as well as varying tone

 Wolves have excellent peripheral vision and superior night vision. The outer perimeter of the wolf's retina is highly sensitive to movement.

 Man is the only real enemy of the wolf, since they reside at the
top of the food  chain in their world.

There is much more that can be related about wolves, given the space.  I will continually add more interesting facts and stories of human interaction.  I do wish to refer you to Stand for Wolves , and   Earth Justice to help keep these wonderful, magnificent animals alive and well.

Sources: Random History , One Kind , International Wolf Center , Wild World of Wolves
Photo Credits: Achim Prill, You Wall