What is wolf short for?
The wolf is a wild predator. It is its own species and is the ancestor of today's domestic dogs. Wolves live together in packs. They have a strict hierarchy and are committed to one another.
In the middle of Europe the wolves were almost completely exterminated, today there are more. However, many farmers oppose this because they are afraid for their sheep. In Eastern Europe in the Balkans, in North America, in Russia or in Mongolia you can find even more wolves than in our countries.
How do wolves live?
Wolves stick tightly together and would give their lives to protect their pack. The pack always includes a pair of wolves and their children. Most of the time there are still children from previous years, perhaps also some other animals that have found their way into the pack.
The bosses in the pack are the parent animals. The young obey them. When the wolf packs live in freedom, there is no other order of precedence. That only happens in captivity: some animals then have more control than others.
The leading animals are called the alpha animals. You can recognize them by their erect tail. An omegatier is the lowest in rank in the pack. You can recognize it by its drawn-in tail and its flared ears. The letter alpha is the first, the omega the last in the Greek alphabet.
Wolves always hunt in packs. They can run very quickly and have a lot of stamina. You choose a weaker animal and hunt it down until it collapses. Then they circle it and the leader jumps on it and kills it.
Wolves mate between January and March. The female carries her young in her belly for about two months. The pack digs up a cave in the ground or extends a fox den. There the mother usually gives birth to around four to six young animals. They drink milk from their mother for about six to eight weeks.
During this time the pack provides the mother with food. They chew the food for the puppies and give it directly to the puppy's mouth. This is why our dogs also like to lick people's mouths. Sometimes the young wolves even chew the food in front of the old ones when they can no longer do it themselves.
Little by little the young animals leave the cave, together with their mother. At five months they have their teeth and can eat completely independently. At the age of one or more, they leave the pack and look for a partner and a new territory. Then they start a new wolf pack.
Are Wolves Dangerous?
There are many stories about wolves. One of them says that the wolf is angry and eats up small children. Something like that also occurs in the fairy tale Red Riding Hood. In the fables the wolf is called Isegrim.
But a wolf only attacks people when he feels threatened or is about to starve. Wolves tend to be shy and usually stay away from humans. Unless you disturb or threaten them. The most dangerous thing is to get too close to a mother with cubs. Sometimes the wolf can also contract the disease rabies, through which it loses its fear of humans.
It can happen that wolves choose sheep or goats as prey. Shepherds often keep guard dogs to protect them from wolves. These dogs grow up with the sheep and guard them from wolves. There are even donkeys that scream or bite to scare away the attacking wolves.
It is not true that the wolves howl at the full moon. But they howl when they want to tell another pack not to get any closer. Sometimes they call each other with howling.
A man in the Stone Age painted this wolf.
A four hundred year old painting. Here a shepherd is bitten by a wolf.
This mother bear defends her cubs against a pack of wolves.
A Mexican wolf in the southern United States
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