25 Awesome Facts About Grey Wolves

March 02, 2020

25 Awesome Facts About Grey Wolves

1. Wolves call North America and Eurasia home

The grey wolf, also known as the timber wolf or western wolf, can be found being an absolute badass in the wilderness and remote areas of North America and Eurasia. They were once common throughout all of North America; however, they have sadly been wiped out in most areas of the U.S. by the mid-1930’s.

2. Howling as a form of GPS

The same way we send our location a wolf's howl can serve as a GPS system or a signal to communicate their whereabouts. Because of the high pitch, the sounds of a wolf howl can carry as far as 10 miles. 

3. Wolves don't mind cold weather

There are an average of 7,000 to 11,000 grey wolves in Alaska, 3,700 in the Great Lakes region, and 1,675 in the Northern Rockies. Evidently, they are super chill with the cold, and we are super chill with getting to know Alaska.

4. Wolves help the world go round

They play an integral role in keeping ecosystems healthy— keeping deer and elk populations normalized, which benefits many plant and animal species.

5. Wolves don't mind traveling

The average wolf travels about 12 miles a day. They roam distances by foot, always ready for what will come their way. Wolf packs in the far north travel far longer distances, as they are following migrating herds.

6. Wolves have very unique howls

The pack is incredibly connected, able to communicate with one another through unique howls, like fingerprints that scientists (and other pack members) can use to tell them apart. Imagine being on opposite sides of Coachella when your friend howls out, and you know homegirl is getting hit on by Mr. Not Right, Never Will Be Right, and she needs you pronto. You'd be notified in a howl!

7. Newborn wolves need protection

Pups are born blind and unable to defend themselves. The pack cares for them until they are able to hunt on their own, which usually happens at about 10 months. At this point, some newly grown wolves may disperse and travel alone in hope of finding their own mate. This can be very dangerous, as they leave the protection of the pack. These rebel wolves took the “don’t follow the pack” saying literally and we’re really pulling for them.

8. Wolves have great hearing and sense of smell

Wolves are not exceptionally fast, having the sprinting capacity of about 35 miles per hour only in short bursts. Instead, they rely on their hearing and sense of smell to detect prey.

9. Wolves feed their young by mouth

Wolves feed their young by, sorry if you’re eating, throwing up in their mouth. They carry chewed up foods in their stomach and then regurgitate it into the pups mouth when they return to the den. It’s kind of sweet if you can get past the fact that it’s completely disgusting.

10. Wolves stay in packs 

Wolves live and hunt in packs of about six to ten. Never break bread alone, bro. Packs include the mother and father wolf (known as the alphas), their pups and older offspring. If a wolf does find himself alone, he lets out his legendary howl in order to get himself back to his tribe. Not to mention, the alpha male is ready to ruin homeboy’s life if he tries to mess with his pack.

11. Mating season is once a year for wolves

Wolves have only one breeding season per year: in the winter. While we are Netflixing and chillin', wolves are getting it on. Which is essentially… you get it. The have their puppies in late April or early May in an underground hole or den. There are usually four to six puppies in the litter. Baby grey wolves are officially the only photos in my camera roll.

12. Wolves are all about their community

Wolves develop close relationships and strong social bonds. They exhibit deep attachment and love for their families and have even been known to give their life in order to protect their pack.

13. Wolves are susceptible to extinction

The wolf is tremendously feared by man and has been persecuted more than almost any other animal. It is their intelligence and adaptability that have protected them from extinction. Still, the grey wolf is considered very susceptible of extinction across the regions, due to loss of habitat, trapping, shooting, and poisoning.

14. There are plenty of nonprofits you can support to save wolves

You can “adopt” a wolf through organizations such as Predator DefenseDefenders of Wildlife or the National Wildlife Federation.These organizations fight on behalf of grey wolves and have many ongoing and valiant efforts in order to protect them.
Learn more about our Non-Profit Partners, Predator Defense.

15. Wolves live relatively long lives

In the wild, wolves live 8-13 years, sometimes more. In captivity, the live upward of 15 years.

16. Besides howling, wolves communicate in many other ways

While howling has become the most famous, wolves communicate in a multitude of forms such as body language, scent marking, barking, and growling. Most of their communication is about fortifying the social hierarchy of the pack.

17. Wolves look cute dancing

A playful wolf dances and bows. Cute! Can someone please dance with a wolf andsend us a video?!

18. Wolves have to be careful of predators too

Wolf pups may be preyed on by Golden Eagles, Bear can also prey on young pups. There are several records of a number of adult wolves decoying bears away from their pups' den until they left.

19. Wolves can eat (like, a lot..)

The typical, adult wolf can eat up to 20 pounds of meat a serving, being about 1/5th of their body weight. All 42 teeth sit in anticipation, waiting for the next meal. Not to mention, they go so hard! They prey on elk, deer, and moose, animals that are generally far larger than they. If large hoofed animals are not an option, they will also eat beaver, rabbit, birds, fish, snakes, and even fruit. It’s all for the commitment of making sure the pack eats well— this is a squad we could have a lot of love for.  

20. Wolves are basically one big family

Wolves generally mate for life— the real ride or die. Only the alpha male and female mate. The wolves in the inferior hierarchy help care for the children. They have each others back, focusing on one unanimous and harmonious mission: survival. 

21. There's a lot to learn about wolves

The grey wolf is one of the world’s best known and well researched animals, with likely more books written about it than any other wildlife species. Here's a quick 1-hour long video to back that statement. 

22. Grey Wolves can be picky when it comes to breeding

Unlike the red and eastern wolf, the grey wolf does not readily interbreed with coyotes — because they have high standards, obviously.

23. Wolves are pretty big canines

The grey wolf is the largest member of the canine family, excluding certain large breeds of dogs.

24. Wolf fur is perfect for colder climates

Their winter fur is extremely resilient to cold temperatures, allowing them to rest comfortably at -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Wolf fur provides better insulation than dog fur, and does not collect ice.

25. Wolves rarely fight within the pack

Wolves have a very intricate social structure. There is a hierarchy for both male and female. Despite popular belief, fighting does not frequently happen within the pack for a higher ranking. Instead, they exhibit a well-functioning hierarchy structure used to protect the entire pack. The other members respect their positions and follow their leadership in almost all things. This is a team that wins — where are our jerseys, coach?

Join the Grey Wolf pack! 

Also in New & Noteworthy

REGISTER TO VOTE: Animals don't have a vote, BUT YOU DO.
REGISTER TO VOTE: Animals don't have a vote, BUT YOU DO.

September 22, 2020

It's National Voter Registration Day and there are officially 42 days left until the November 3rd Presidential Election. We've compiled a list of useful resources that make it easy to have your voice be heard on all the social and political issues you care about most.
Read More
The Freakiest Animal Noises You'll Hear in Nature
The Freakiest Animal Noises You'll Hear in Nature

August 17, 2020

From the iconic howl of a coyote to the terrifying shriek of the puma, these are the the most freakish animal noises you'll hear in nature.
Read More
Can Dogs be Trained to Detect Coronavirus? Scientists Think So!
Can Dogs be Trained to Detect Coronavirus? Scientists Think So!

August 10, 2020

Read More