Timber Wolves at the Zoo
Female wolf born 4-9-2009: Spirit; hand raised
Female wolf born in Big Bear on April 9th 2009. The last of her pack of 9 siblings that lived at the zoo together for many years. Her mother was not able to care for her and her siblings and she was raised by zoo staff.
(Canis lupus) Wolves are legendary because of their spine-tingling howl, which they use to communicate. Wolves have a very complex communication system which includes body language and scent marking as well as vocalizations. They use this communication system to send messages to each other, their pack and other packs and animals nearby.
What does the timber wolf eat?
The timber wolf is a carnivore, but is also opportunistic and will eat what is available. Their preferred prey is large animals such as deer, elk and moose. When they are successful, wolves do not eat in moderation. A single animal can consume 20 pounds of meat at a sitting. Wolves also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and fruit.
How long do they live?
6 to 8 years in the wild, up to 18 in captivity.
How many timber wolves can be born at a time?
Up to 12 pups. There were 9 pups born at the zoo in 2009.
Where are they found?
The Timber Wolf lives in Canada, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, north Midwest, and northern Europe and Russia. They live in cold prairies, forests, and mountains. Once they were found throughout much of the contiguous United States, but they were hunted to extinction throughout most of their native range in the early 1900s.
- The average male wolf weighs about 145 lbs.
- Wolves are legendary because of their spine-tingling howl, which they use to communicate. Wolves have a very complex communication system which includes body language and scent marking as well as vocalizations. They use this communication system to send messages to each other, their pack and other packs and animals nearby.
- Though they almost never attack humans, wolves are mistakenly considered to be one of the animal world’s most fearsome natural villains.
- They are known to roam large distances, often between 30 to 50 miles in a single day; however far is necessary to find food. They can run at about 40 to 45 miles per hour.
- Wolf packs are established according to a strict hierarchy, with a dominant male as the Alpha. His chosen mate would become the dominant female. Usually this male and female are the only animals of the pack to breed.
- The wolf’s sense of smell is more than 100 times greater than a human.
- Wolves are highly intelligent and social animals and they hunt cooperatively.
- Wolves have extremely powerful jaws, about 1500 pounds per square inch of power.