Wolves have become an iconic symbol of human strength and power. They have been mentioned numerous times in literature around the world. The fact that they were historically known to have been companions to man makes them even more interesting. Nowadays, people continue to study everything about these animals—from their behavior to the different packs of wolves that thrive in the wilderness.
If you happen to be curious about these wild animals, take a look at some interesting facts about them below.
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Fact 1: Black wolves are a result of mutation
According to a study conducted in Stanford University back in 2008, natural black fur can only be exhibited by dogs, so the black pigmentation of wolves are a result of mutation and interbreeding with these animals. Black wolves are just gray wolves despite their colorful variation. They happen to be scattered around the world notably in North America but are rarely seen. There is nothing special about the black coat, but scientists have found that black wolves are less prone to infections than their gray brothers and sisters.
Fact 2: A majority of coyotes are actually wolf hybrids
Coyotes are smaller than wolves and are just about the same size as jackals. A number of coyotes have migrated to the East Coast and it has been found that a number of them have bred with wolves. The result was a wolf-coyote hybrid called coywolves, and they are known to be more fearless and aggressive than the average coyote with the instinct of a wolf. They also sound off like gray wolves but shift to coyote-like pitches midway. The coywolf can be found all over North America, specifically in New England, New York , New Jersey, Michigan, and all the way to Canada.
Fact 3: It is uncommon for wolves to turn into cannibals
Wolves are generally carnivores. They eat anything from smaller animals to large ungulates and even members of their own pack that are sick or wounded. Ever heard of the English idiom “dog eat dog”? Well, in the wolf world, this is taken in a literal sense. Cannibalism among wolves is not unusual as they find every method to feed themselves. They do not hesitate to devour weaker wolves as well, even if they aren’t members of their own pack, so most hunters tend to injured wolves so other packs won’t devour it.
Fact 4: Wolves can weigh up to 200 lbs
This fact actually depends on where the wolf lives. Wolves who live on harsh weather conditions like Canada, Alaska, and Russia are generally heavier with weights tipping 120 lbs. In fact, the biggest wolf caught in Ukraine weighed up to a staggering 190 lbs and another killed in Alaska weighed around 175 lbs. Alpha males are usually the largest off the whole pack most likely since they are in charge of leading it. On the other hand, wolves that thrive in tropical countries are smaller.
Fact 5: Rabid wolf attacks are extremely dangerous
Wolves are not major vectors for rabies, but it is impossible that they can get the diseases from foxes, jackals, and even raccoons. These cases may not be common for wolves found in North America compared to their Asian counterparts, but they still pose a danger nonetheless. In fact, many wolf attacks are because of rabies. Wolves tend to fall into a rage once they contract the disease and become fifteen times more dangerous than rabid dogs. Since wolves tend to attack by biting the victim on the neck, this allows the virus to reach the victim’s brain fast, causing more fatalities.