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Welcome to my page that has little known facts about wolves,
over the years I have bought many calendars of wolves,
so this is where most of this information comes from.

Displaying dominance and submission, chasing, sparring, wrestling, reassuring-all are
part of the daily dynamics of a wolf pack. From time to time the pack gathers together
in a "rally". Although the reasons for these meetings are not known, they appear
to be a celebration of solidarity. A pack rally can be a difficult time for the omega,
the lowest ranking wolf in the pack. As the other pack members work themselves into a frenzy,
they may try to demonstrate their prowess by directing aggression toward the omega.

Wolves howl for a variety of reasons: to rally the pack together, to respond to far off sounds,
or to defend territory. They also seem to howl to demonstrate a sense of solidarity and a
sense of belonging to the group; a communal howl helps to reaffirm their bond.
Wolves also howl for reasons that only they know.

Wolves have long existed in the human mind as creatures of our dreams and nightmares.
European settlers brought their dislike of the wolf with them to the New World.
In striking contrast, many of the continent's original inhabitants revered the wolf for its
hunting prowess and devotion to its pack. In recent years, the wolf has made a small recovery
in the western United States. Despite what has been learned about wolves, however, age-old myths endure.

A pack may consist of anywhere from two to 30 or so wolves. Pack size depends on
many variables, including habitat, pressures from neighboring packs, and available prey.
A pack that relies on moose for food typically needs more hunting members than a pack
that subsists on white-tailed deer. The larger the prey, the larger the pack.

Displays of dominance and submission take place frequently, reaffirming the social balance
and reminding each wolf of its proper place in the pack. A wolf pack is generally made
up of a breeding pair known as the alphas, their offspring, and sometimes a few other
related adults. Wolves achieve and maintain their position in pack rankings through posturing,
stares, and physical interaction.

Although it has been hunted to near extinction in much of its former range, the wolf is still the
world's most widely distributed mammal, other than humans. There are two recognized species of
wolf: Canis lupus, the gray wolf and Canis rufus, the red wolf. The gray wolf has more than 30
subspecies, many of which are now extinct. The largest populations of gray wolves are in
the northern wilderness regions of North America and Asia. The red wolf is a severely
endangered species found only in the southeastern United States.

Young wolves are naturally curious, bold, and aggressive, which is important as they start
to explore their world and form relationships within the pack. Puppies develop and maintain
their own "pup hierarchy" for the first few years of life, and their ranks are established early.
Although adult wolves compete with each other while feeding, they allow pups to eat without
confrontation until the pups reach adolescence. From then on the younger wolves must
compete as well, eventually finding their place in the adult pack hierarchy.

A wolf pack, or family, is a cooperative social unit. Its social structure and operation grow out of
the need to hunt efficiently and safely, giving the wolves the best chance of success.
Although wolves hunt mice, voles, and other small game on their own, they generally hunt
in groups when taking down larger prey such as deer, elk, and moose.

A lone wolf is usually an animal that no longer has a place in the pack where it was born.
Such wolves disperse to find a mate and start their own pack, but a solitary life is hard for
any wolf to maintain for long. They may easily catch small prey like mice and squirrels,
but hunting larger game like deer or moose is dangerous without the teamwork of a pack.

Smell is an important avenue of communication for wolves, but one that is little understood
by humans. Wolves have a much keener sense of smell than humans, and larger olfactory lobes
in their brains for processing scent information. They have scent glands on their faces,
along their sides, at the base of their tails, and even between their toes.

Wolves have double layer coats that make them perfectly suited for hunting in winter conditions.
The majority of wolves in North America exist in the wilderness regions of Canada and Alaska.
Northern wolves tend to hunt large hooved animals such as deer, moose, elk, caribou, and
muskoxen. In order to access an adequate supply of large game a wolf pack may require a range
of as much as 400 square miles. When large prey is scarce, wolves will also hunt
beavers, foxes, hares, squirrels, or domestic animals.

As the alpha howls, the beta wolf shows his respect. Paying respect to the dominant alpha
is part of life for a mid-ranking wolf. But there is more to this exchange than simple
dominance and submission; it also reinforces the bond between these two wolves.

Information by National Geographic and Jim and Jamie Dutcher.

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