The Grey Wolf (Canis Lupus)Edit

The Grey Wolf (Canis Lups), also known as the 'Timber Wolf,' is the largest of the wild dog family. Grey Wolves were once in abundance and distributed over North America, Eurasia and the Middle East. However, because of human-related activity such as destruction of habitat and excessive hunting, Grey Wolves now only occupy a faction of their former range.

The Grey Wolf is listed as an endangered species under the 1937 Endangered Speciec Act as they continue to be hunted in many areas of the world as percieved threat to livestock, humans and also for sport.

As ectremely adaptable animals, Grey Wolves generally live in mountains, temperate forests and grasslands.

Grey Wolf Characteristics


Grey Wolves have a grey coat (hence their name) with interspersed yellow and pepper coloured flicks which seep through from the base of their thick fur. Their coat has a kind of 'grizzled' look about it.

Aduls Grey Wolves weigh around 75 - 125 pounds. Male Grey Wolves are larger that the females and can grow to weigh as much as 175 pounds in some cases. Grey Wolves stand between 27 - 32 inches at the shoulder. Wolves can appear much larger that they already are. This is because of their long fur. In winter, when their winter fur is grown in, it can be as long as 2 - 2.5 inches on their backs and sides. The hairs in their mane can be as long as 4 - 5 inches. When stood upright, this makes them appear taller.

The length of the Grey Wolf varies between 50 and 70 inches long from nose tip to tail tip. A third of this length is the length of its tail.

Compared to a large dog, a wolf has a narrower chest and longer legs. Because their chests are narrow, their left and right footprints are closer together than those of a dogs.

Grey Wolves have very strong jaws. Wolves have 42 teeth altogether. These consists of: 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 pre-molars and 10 caracassials and molars. A wolfs canin teeth can be as long as 1 inch. A wolfs teeth are extremely sharp, strond and curved. This enables them to grasp their prey in between their jaws and chew down to the soft marrow in the bones. It also helps the wolf to eat nearly all of its prey, leaving very little waste.

Wolf paws are able to traverse easily through a wide variety of terrains, especially snow. There is a slight webbing between each tow which allows wolves to move over snow more easily than their hampered prey. Wolves are digitigrades, so the relative largeness of their feet helps to better distribute on snowy surfaces. The front paws are larger than the hind paws and feature a fifth digit: a dew claw (a claw that grows higher on the leg so that, when the animal is standing, it does not make contact with the ground). Bristled hairs and blunt claws enhance grip on slippery surfaces, and special blood vessels keep paw pads from freezing.

Grey Wolf Population

Today, there are over 300 wolves in Yellowstone Park and over 500 in Idaho. The reintroduction of wolves is still in ongoin debate and is sometimes heated about already introduced wolves and the possibility of reintroducing more. Through negotiations between livestock ranchers and Defenders of Wildlife, the reintroduction of wolves has been a great success and number recovery goals have been met. However, the reintroduction still provides a sharp divide between industry and enviornmentalist.

Grey Wolf Behaviour

Grey wolves live in packs which have complex social structures that include the breeding adult pair (the alpha male and female) and their offspring. A hierarchy of dominant and subordinate animals within the pack to help it function as a unit.

Grey Wolf Range

Today the range of the Grey Wolf has been reduced to the followin areas of the United States: Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, as well as Russia and a few eastern European countries.

Grey Wolf Habitat

Historically, Grey wolves have the largest range of any land mammal other than people. Grey wolves have lived in all habitats in the Northern Hemisphere except for tropical forest. Grey wolves tend to occupy forests, tundra and grassy plains as well as deserts and mountains.

Red Wolf (Canis Rufus)Edit

The Red Wolf (Canis Rufus) is the rarest and most endangered of all the wolf species.

It is thought that the Red Wolfs original distribution included much of eastern North America, where Red Wolves were found from Pennsylvania in the east, Florida in the south and Texas in the west.

On the basis of the further study, the Red Wolfs historic range is now thought to have extended further north into the northeastern USA and estreme eastern Canada. In the last century, however, pesecution, habitat destruction and hybridizations with Coyotes have brought the Red Wolf to the brink of estinction.

Red Wolf Characteristics


The Red Wolf is a medium-sized canid; smaller and more slender than the Grey Wolf. However, the Red Wolf is larger than the coyote. Adult male Red Wolves typically has a height of the shoulder of 38 - 40 centimetres (15 - 16 inches), a length of 140 - 165 centumetres (4.5 - 5.5 feet) and weighs 18 - 36 kilograms (40 - 80 pounds). The Red Wolf has a smooth reddish coat, silver-grey forehead, darker marks on white legs and a cream coloured underbelly. The Red Wolf has long ears and long legs.

Red Wolf Population

Red Wolves were almost hunted to the brink of extinction in 1980. Fewer than 20 pure red wolves were gathered up by an American organization called the U.S. Fish and Woldlife Service to be bred in captivity. Although they were declared extinct  in the wild in 1980, fortunately there were enough captive animals by 1987  to begin a reintroduction program.

Today approximately 155 captive red wolves reside at 37 captive breeding facilities across the US, including two island programs. Thanks to these programs, nearly 100 red wolves currently live in the wild, including 68 wolves that have been outfitted with radio collars.

Red Wolf Behaviour

Red Wolves are shy and secretive animals and tend to hunt alone or in small packs that include the breeding adult pair (the alpha male and female) and their offspring. Size of the pack varies with the size depending on the availability of prey.

A hierarchy of dominant and subordinate animals within the pack help it to function as a unit. Red wolves are primarily nocturnal and mainly active at night. They communicate by scent marking, vocalizations (including howling), facial expressions and body postures.

Red Wolf Range

Historically, Red Wolves ranged throughout the sotheastern United States, from Pennsylvania to Florida and as far west as Texas. Today, the only wild red wolves roam the Alligator River Refuge and nearby Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina.

Red Wolf Habitats

Habitats for the wild Red Wolf includes forests, wetlands, costal prairies and mountains. Red Wolves make their dens in hollow trees, stream banks and in sand knolls.

Ethiopian Wolf (Canis Simensis)Edit

The Ethiopian Wolf (Canis Simensis) is known by the many names in its range. Locally it is known as 'ky kebero', which means red jackal.

The Ethiopian Wolf is one of the rarest and most endangered of all canids.

The numerous names reflect previous uncertainty about their taxonomic position, however, they are now thought to be related to the wolves of genus Canis, rather than foxes that they resemble. It is thought that the Ethiopian Wolf may be a descendant of the Grey Wolf.

The Ethiopian Wolf is found in the Afro-alpine regions of Ehtiopia and Eritrea, about 10,000 feet (3,00 metres) above sea level. Only about twelve populations, total about 450 adults, remain. Ethiopian Wolves tend to live in open moorlands where vegetaion is less than 0.25 metres high.

Ethiopian Wolf Characteristics

Ethiopian Wolf1

Ethiopian Wolves are different than other wolves in that they have a longer muzzle and smaller teeth. The male ethiopian wolves are sidngificantly larger that the females, with the males weighing from 33 - 42 pounds (15 - 19 kilograms) and females weighing from 24 - 31 pounds (11.2 - 14.15 kilograms). Their legs are comparatively long. Their body colour is an overall reddish brown with white undersides, legs and markings on the face. Ethiopian Wolves bushy tails are white at the base and black at the tip.

Ethiopian Wolf Population

Since September 2003, at least 38 Ethiopian Wolves have died from rebies in the Bale Mountains. Another 20 - 25 are missing and presumed dead. This area is home to 300 of these endagered wolves. Scientists believe there are less that 450 left on earth.

Ethiopian Wolf Behaviour

When feeding on rodents, ethiopian wolves tend to hunt alone. However, they are territorial social canids that form packs and defend territories. The pack, which contains up to 12 adults with a skewed mating ratio of several males to each female, patrols and defends the territory.

Mexican Wolf (Canis Lupus Baileyi)Edit

The Mexican Wolf (Canis Lupus Baileyi) is the rarest, most genetically destinct subspecies of the Grey Wolf in North America.

Until recent times, the wierd Mexican Wolf ranged the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts from the central Mexico to western Texas, southern New Mexico and central Arizona.soo cool

By the turn of the century, reduction of natural prey like deer and elk caused many Mexican Wolves to begin attacking domestic livestock, which led to intensive efforts by government agencies and individuals to eradicate the Mexican Wolf. Mexican wolves prefer to live in mountain forests, grasslands and shrub lands.

Mexican Wolf Characteristics

Mexican Wolf1

The Mexican Wolf is also one of the smallest subspecies of North American grey wolves; reaching an overall length no greater than 135 centimetres whose maximum height is about 80 centimeters. The Mexican Wolf ranges from 27 - 45 kilograms. Commonly referred to as 'El lobo', the Mexican Wolf is grey with light brown fur on its back.

The Mexican Wolves have long legs and a sleek body which enables them to run very fast. The modeled grey appearance of the Mexican Wolf is excellent as a camouflage in the forested areas. The Mexican Wolf has a superior sense of smell. By traveling in packs, the Mexican Wolf ensures its safety and a higher chance of catching prey.

Mexican Wolf Behaviour

Wolves are very socail animals. They live in packs, which are complex social structures that include the breeding adult pair (the alpha male and female) and their offspring. A hierarchy of dominant and subordinate animals within the pack help it to work as a unit.

Arctic Wolf (Canis Lupus Arctos)Edit

The Arctic Wolf (Canis Lups Arctos). also called Polar Wolf or White wolf, is a mammal of the Canidae family and a subspecies of the Grey Wolf. Arctic Wolves inhabit the Canadian Arctic and the northern parts of Greenland. The Arctic Wolf and Timber Wolf are the subspecies of the Grey Wolf that still can be found over the whole of its original range, largely because in their natural habitat they rarely encounter humans.

Arctic Wolf Characteristics

Arctic Wolf1

Arctic Wolves are generally smaller than Grey Wolves, measuring around 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 metres) long including the tail. Male Arctic Wolves are larger than female Arctic Wolves. Their shoulder heights vary from 25 to 31 inches (63 to 79 centimetres). Arctic Wolves are bulkier than Grey Wolves, often weighing over 100 pounds (45 kilograms). Weights of up to 175 pounds (80 kilograms have been observed in full-grown males.

Arctic Wolves usually have small ears, which helps the wolf maintain body heat. The alpha male is always the largest and will continue growing after other wolves had stopped. Arctic wolves can be black, grey or white.

Eastern Wolf (Canis Lupus Lycaon)Edit

The Eastern Wolf (Canis Lupus Lycaon), also know as Eastern Canadian Wolf or Eastern Canadian Red Wolf, is a subspecies of the Grey Wolf. Sometimes it is also viewed as a result of historical hybridications between grey wolves and red wolves or coyotes. The Eastern Wolf is recognize as a potential distinct species, but close related to Red Wolf.

The Eastern Wolf mainly occupies the area in and around Algonquin Provinvial Park in Ontario and also ventures into adjacent parts of Quebec, Canada. The Eastern Wolf also may be present in Minnesota and Manitoba.

In the past, the Eastern Wolf might have ranged south into the United States, however, after the arrival of Europens, these wolves were heavily persecuted and was exterminated from the United States. In Canada, exact numbers of Eastern Canadian Wolves are unknown

Eastern Wolf Characteristics

Eastern Wolf1

The Eastern Wolf is smaller that the Grey Wolf. It has a pale greyish-brown pelt. The black and the sides are covered with long black hairs. Behind the ears, there is a slight reddish colour. These differences in attributes are thought to be a result of their Red Wolf ancestry. The Easter Wolf is also more slender that the grey wolf and displays a coyote-like appearance.

This is because wolves and coyotes often mate and breed hyprid wolf/coyote pups in the Canadian Parks. Because the two wolves so much alike, a ban on the hunting of these wolves and coyotes has been in place to make sure no accidental deaths occur.

Eurasian Wolf (Canis Lupus Lupus)Edit

The Eurasian Wolf (Canis Lupus Lupus), also known as the Common Wolf, European Wolf, Carpathian Wolf, Steppes Wolf, Tibetan Wolf and Chinede Wolf is a subspecies of the Grey Wolf (Canis Lupus). Currently, it has the largest range among wolf subspecied and is the most common in Europe and Asia, ranging through in Western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, China, Mongolia and the Himalayan Mountains.

Originally spread over the most or Eurasia, with a southern limit of the Himalayas, the Hinukush, the Koppet Dag, the Caucasus, the Black Sea and the Alps, it has been pushed back from the most of Western Europe and Eastern China, surviving mostly in Central Asia.

Eurasian Wolf Characteristics

Eurasian Wolf1

Eurasian Wolves have shorter, denser fur that their North American relatives. Their size varies according to region, although adults measure 30 inches (76 centimetres) at the shoulder and weigh around 70 - 130 pounds (32 - 59 kilograms), with females usually being about twent percent smallet than males. The heaviest known Eurasian wolf was killed in Romania and weighed 158 pounds (72 kilograms).

The colour of the Eurasian Wolf ranges from white, cream, red, grey and black. Sometimes wilth all colours combined. Wolves in central Europe tend to be more richly coloured than those in Norhtern Europe.

Eurasian Wolf Behaviour

Eurasian wolves are highly social animals, though doe to decline in territory, they form smaller packs than in North America. Social behaviour seems to vary from region, to region, an example being that wolves living in the Carpathians tend to be predominantly solitary hunters.

Italian Wolf (Canis Lupus Italicus)Edit

The Italian Wolf (Canis Lupus Italicus) also known as the Apennine Wolf, is a subspecies of the Grey Wolf found in the Apennine Mountains in Italy.

It was first described in 1921 and recognized as a disticnt subspecies in 1999. Recently due to an increase in population, the subspecies has also been spotted in areas of Switzerland.

During recent years, Italian wolves have also established themselves in Souther France, particularly in the Parc National du Mercantour. Is is federaly protected in all three countries.

Italian Wolf Characteristics

Italian Wolf1

The Italian Wolf is a medium wolf. Male Italian Wolves have an average weight of 24 - 40 kilograms (53 - 88 pounds). with females usually being 10% lighter. The body length of the Italian Wolf is usually 100 - 140 centimetres (39 - 55 inches)/ Their fur colour is commonly blended grey or brown, though black specimens have recently been sighted in the Mugello region and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.

Italian Wolf Behaviour

Due to a scarcity of large prey, wolf packs in Italy ten to be smaller than average. Packs are usually limited to a nuclear femily composed of a reproducing alpha pair, young sub adults which remain with their birth family until they are old enough to disperse and produce pups. However, in areas where large herbivores such as deer have been reintroduced, such as the Abruzzo National Park, packs consisting of 6 - 7 individuals can be found.

Tundra Wolf (Canis Lupus Albus)Edit

The Tundra Wolf (Canis Lupus Albus) is a subspecies of Grey Wolf that can be found throughout northern Europe and Asia, primarily in the northern arctic and boreal regions of Russia. Although Tundra Wolves were eliminated from the Arctic islands north of Siberia, they have been recently seen on Wrangle Island.

Tundra Wolf Characteristics

Tundra Wolf1

Consistent with Berdmann's Rule (Bergmann;s rule is an ecogeographic rule that correlates latitude with body mass in animals), tundra wolves are among the largest of grey wolf subspecies. Tundra Wolves can attain a body length of 2 metres (7 feet) and usually an average weight of 45 - 57 kilograms (100 - 125 pounds), though there are some uncomfirmed reports of animals reaching weights of 100 kilograms (220 pounds). Males are usually larger than females. Most tundra wolves have a grey colour, with mixes of black, rust and silver grey. Like canids, Tundra wolves have a high body, long legs, broad skull tapering to a narrow muzzle. Their tail is bushy and their coat has a thick, dense underfur.

More Living Sub-species of WolfEdit

Wolf TypeEdit
Arabian Wolf Canis lupus arabs Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman Critically endangered, declining
A very small subspecies. Typically blended brown or completely brown with a thin coat. Hunted regularly as a nuisance animal, though rarely encountered.
Caspian Sea Wolf Canis lupus cubanensis Between the Caspian and Black seas Endangered, declining
A smaller subspecies. Hunted as a nuisance animal.
Egyptian Wolf Canis lupus lupaster Far Northern Africa Critically endangered, unknown
A smaller subspecies. Usually a grizzled or tinged grey or brown. Lanky. Very rarely encountered.
Great Plains Wolf Canis lupus nubilus Southern Rocky Mountains, Midwestern United States, Eastern and Northeastern Canada, far Southwestern Canada, and Southeastern Alaska Stable
An average-sized subspecies. Usually grey, black, buff, or reddish. The most common subspecies in the contiguous U.S. Hunted legally in parts of Canada.
Indian Wolf Canis lupus pallipes Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India Endangered, declining
A very small subspecies. Typically tawny, buff, or reddish with a very short, dense coat. Hunted as a nuisance animal.
MacKenzie Valley Wolf Canis lupus occidentalis Alaska, Northern Rockies, Western and Central Canada Stable
A very large subspecies. Usually black or a blended grey or brown, but full colour spectrum represented. This subspecies was reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and Idaho starting in 1995. Hunted legally in Alaska and parts of Canada. Protected in the contiguous states.
Russian Wolf Canis lupus communis Central Russia Stable, declining
A very large subspecies. Hunted legally.

Extinct WolvesEdit

Wolf TypeEdit
Kenai Peninsula Wolf Canis lupus alces Alaska Extinct
It was a very large wolf. The determination of the species and the size of the wolf was done using recovered bones. 
Texas Grey Wolf Canis lupus monstrabilis Texas and Northeast Mexico Extinct
This wolf used to live in Texas and northeastern Mexico. Its members were usually small and dark coloured. They were sometimes white.
New Foundland Wolf Canis lupus beothucus Newfoundland Extinct
This wolf was a medium sized wolf that was almost pure white.
Southern Rocky Mountain Wolf Canis lupus youngi Mountainous regions of Colorado, Utah and Nevada. Extinct
A larger subspecies. Full canine colour spectrum represented, though blended pelages predominate. First subspecies to be recognized in North America. Hunted legally in parts of Canada.
Mongollon Mountain Wolf Canis lupus mogollonensis Central Arizona and New Mexico. Extinct
Their colour was usually dark with some whites.
Hokkaido Wolf Canis lupus hattai Japanese island of Hokkaido Extinct
A smaller subspecies. Became extinct in 1889 as a result of poisoning campaigns.
Honshu Wolf Canis lupus hodophilax Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu Extinct
A very small subspecies. Became extinct in 1905 from a combination of rabies and human eradication efforts.
Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Canis lupus irremotus The northern Rocky mountains of the United States, and southern Alberta. Extinct
Medium to large grey wolves.
Dire Wolf Canis dirus The Dire Wolf co-existed with the Grey Wolf in North America for about 100,000 years. Extinct
The Dire Wolf had a larger, broader head and smaller brain-case than that of a similarly-sized Grey Wolf, and had teeth that were quite massive.