Grey Wolves or Timber Wolves are the largest of the wild dog family. They’re spread out over North America, Eurasia, and the Middle East and these fearsome predators and helps keep ecosystems in check. Unfortunately, through the years, Grey Wolf populations are on a continuous decline all thanks to humans. Keep on reading to learn pack full of facts about Grey Wolves.
Fact 1: The Gray Wolf, also known as the Timber Wolf, is the largest wild member of the dog family.
Fact 2: The Wolf inhabits vast areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
Fact 3: Between 5 and 24 subspecies of gray wolves are recognized in North America.
Fact 4: Wolves were domesticated several thousand years ago.
Fact 5: Selective breeding slowly turned Wolves into dogs.
Fact 6: Ancient Asian dogs were creating in a domestication event involving Asian wolves at least 12,500 years ago, while European Paleolithic dogs originated from an independent domestication event from European wolves at least 15,000 years ago.
Fact 7: A typical northern male Grey Wolf is about 2 meters long from head to tail tip.
Fact 8: It would have a standing shoulder height of 76 cm.
Fact 9: Grey Wolves weigh in at around 45 kg. About the weight as a large domestic dog.
Fact 10: The wolf is the most specialized member of the genus Canis for cooperative big game hunting.
Fact 11: Grey wolves are social animals and display highly advanced expressive behavior.
Fact 12: Gray wolves usually live in packs of up to two dozen individuals.
Fact 13: Packs numbering 6 to 10 are most common. A pack is basically a family group consisting of an adult breeding pair (the alpha male and alpha female) and their offspring of various ages.
Fact 14: The ability of wolves to form strong social bonds with one another is what makes the wolf pack possible.
Fact 15: A dominance hierarchy is established within the pack, which helps maintain order. The alpha male and alpha female continually assert themselves over their subordinates, and they guide the activities of the group.
Fact 16: The female predominates in roles such as care and defense of pups, whereas the male predominates in foraging and hunting.
Fact 17: Both males and females are very active in attacking and killing prey, but during the summer hunts are often conducted alone to aid in ambush predation.
Fact 18: Grey wolves have very few, if any, known natural enemies because of their status as apex predators.
Fact 19: Subject to the availability of prey, Grey Wolves can thrive in a wide range of habitats from dense forest and desert to Arctic and tundra.
Fact 20: They can take down prey as large as a moose.
Fact 21: In Eurasia, scientists believe there are 7 to 12 species of Grey Wolf.
Fact 22: Grey Wolves are also opportunistic feeders and will prey on small animals and scavenge on carrion.
Fact 23: In areas of dense human presence and prey scarcity, especially in Eurasia, hunger may drive Grey Wolves to feed on livestock or garbage.
Fact 24: Grey wolves have been hunted to near extinction in 48 states in the U.S.
Fact 25: Fortunately, some populations survived and others have since been reintroduced. Few gray wolves survive in Europe, though many live in Alaska, Canada, and Asia.
Fact 26: Grey wolves mate between February and April.
Fact 27: A Grey Wolf litter is usually made up of five or six pups after a gestation period of about two months.
Fact 28: Grey Wolf Pups are usually born in a den consisting of a natural hole or a burrow, often in a hillside.
Fact 29: After two or more years in the pack, many pups leave to search for a mate, establish a new territory, and possibly even start their own pack.
Fact 30: Those pups that stay with the pack may eventually replace a parent to become a breeding animal (alpha).
Fact 31: Gray wolves move and hunt mostly at night, especially in areas populated by humans and during warm weather.
Fact 32: Their main prey consists of large herbivores such as deer, elk, moose, bison, bighorn sheep, caribou, and musk oxen, which they chase, seize, and pull to the ground.
Fact 33: The Grey Wolf is listed as an endangered species under the 1973 Endangered Species Act as they continue to be hunted in many areas of the world as a perceived threat to livestock, humans and also for sport.
Fact 34: They don’t skimp on food, and one Grey Wolf can consume 20 pounds of food in one sitting.
Fact 35: Wolves also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and fruit.
Fact 36: Wolves are carnivores, which means they eat meat as their main food source.
Fact 37: There’s only one known species of Grey Wolf in Africa.
Fact 38: The Ancient Greeks associated wolves with Apollo, the god of light and order.
Fact 39: The Ancient Romans connected the wolf with their god of war and agriculture Mars, and believed their founders Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf.
Fact 40: Norse mythology includes the feared giant wolf Fenrir, eldest child of Loki and Angrboda.
Fact 41: In the Pawnee creation myth, the wolf was the first animal brought to earth.
Fact 42: The Grey Wolf got a bad reputation from Charles Perrault’s 1697 tale “Little Red Riding Hood”.
Fact 43: The story of Little Red Riding Hood is considered to have had more influence than any other literary work in forging the wolf’s negative reputation in the western world.
Fact 44: Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” features wolves as members of a loyal, loving family.
Fact 45: The Jungle Books story centers around a boy named Mowgli. Mowgli is a boy brought up in the jungle by a pack of wolves. When Shere Khan, a tiger, threatens to kill him, a panther and a bear help him escape his clutches.
Fact 46: In Japanese mythology, grain farmers once worshiped wolves at shrines.
Fact 47: The farmers would leave food offerings near their dens, beseeching them to protect their crops from wild boars and deer. Talismans and charms adorned with images of wolves were thought to protect against fire, disease, and other calamities and brought fertility to agrarian communities and to couples hoping to have children.