The Common Wolf is also known as the Gray Wolf. This is the type
of wolf that most people are familiar with. However, they are often
mistaken for other types of wolves out there. This is because the
actual appearance of them can be drastically different based upon
the location they are in.
Some of the Common Wolves out there only weigh about 80 pounds.
Others can be closer to 100 pounds. Researchers have come across
some that were almost 200 pounds but that is very rare. They range
in length from 4 ½ feet to 6 feet. The colors of them can
include brown, gray, black, red, white, and a mix of various colorings
The head and the muzzle of these wolves are narrow compared to other
species. They also dont have the same mass across the shoulders.
Yet they are still very powerful animals. They arent as fast
as other animals, but they have a stamina that cant be matched.
So they may not have that initial speed but they can go the distance
at a good rate.
The webbing between each toe allows the Common Wolf to be able
to move easily regardless of the type of terrain they are on. They
have very large feet so they are able to shift how their weight
is distributed. This helps them when they are walking on snow so
they dont sink into the soft areas.
They have very sharp teeth and jaws. It is believed they have
more than three times the biting power behind them than the average
canine. What is very interesting is that the saliva from a Common
Wolf has been proven to help new tissues grow and to reduce the
risk of an infection occurring.
DNA testing shows that the Common Wolf has evolved from canines.
Today there are several subspecies of this wolf as well. The fact
that there are significant differences that continue to be found
indicates that these wolves moved in various directions long ago.
They did so for the ultimate chance of survival.
wolf Canis lupus
The Common Wolf uses a variety of vocal and non verbal forms of
communication within their pack. They are very dependent upon their
social group and do all they can to maintain it. They can be aggressive
towards other wolf packs, often using howling to inform them not
to come into their established territory.
They will heavily mark their territory with urine and scents
that they make in their body. Rolling around on the ground and rubbing
against trees helps them to be able to release these scents. It
can be very difficult for young Common Wolves to find their own
habitat out there in the wild.
The Common Wolf is able to adapt to a variety of surroundings. As
long as they can find food and they have a large habitat to move
around in they seem to do very well. They are known to live in regions
that include mountains, plains, deserts, grasslands, and even some
urban locations. They are found throughout Northern America.
Unfortunately, the span of area that these wolves used to know
has been drastically reduced. The fact that humans continue to move
into their territory means they are fighting for the rights to less
and less space out there in the wild. As a result of this some locations
that used to be well known for the Common Wolf now have very few
or none at all.
There have been some successful efforts though to reintroduce
the Common Wolf to some locations they previously had inhabited.
These programs are showing that giving them back their natural environment
can be a great way to keep the population going.
Most experts believe that the Common Wolf helps to bring order and
balance to the ecosystems that they are a part of. They are very
opportunistic when it comes to what they feed upon. This ranges
from small rodents to medium and very large animals. Depending on
the location this can include deer, beavers and bisons.
What is interesting is that they usually wont attack prey
that stands still. Yet they can surround it for hours or days at
a time. Should the animal run, that is when the Common Wolves will
chase it and try to take it down.
Like other wolf pups, these will be fed regurgitated meat by
members of the pack. That allows them to get the nutrition they
need after they are done feeding from the body of their mothers.
When they are ready to go on the hunt at about six months of age
they will be learning how to survive.
The pups are allowed to fight for food when it is time to take
part in such eating. Many experts believe this fight to get to consume
food is part of how their order in the pack will be determined.
wolf in Northern Minnesota
There is a long mating season for the Common Wolf. It can last from
January through April. It seems that the higher elevation that they
live in the later in the year that they will mate. The male alpha
leader of the pack will mate with the beta female. However, he may
also mate with other females in the pack. This is different that
other species of wolves where he will only mate with the beta.
Once mating is successful it will be just over two months before
the litter of pups arrives. They are deaf and blind at birth with
each of them weighing one pound at the most. Generally each litter
will have from 4 to 6 pups. However, it is possible for her to have
many more than that. She will give birth to her young inside of
There she will remain with them on and off for the first three
months of life. She will leave only to get food for herself. This
is necessary for her to continue making milk for the young to survive
on. When they do come out of the den with her they will be cared
for by the entire wolf pack.
The young wolves will continue to be a part of it until they
are fully mature. About two years of age most of them will leave
the pack to go start one of their own. Their drive to mate is often
what triggers them to do so. If they remain in their Common Wolf
pack of origin they may never have the opportunity to do so.
The Common Wolf does have problems with humans when it comes to
predators. There are lots of farmers and ranchers out there that
dont care for them. Other people see them as a menace or as
a very dangerous type of animal. Therefore they dont really
care if they end up being killed or not.
The Common Wolf is believed to have the best chance of survival
in regards to all the other species of wolves. Many of them are
endangered but the numbers of these are high enough that it isnt
a huge concern at this point in time that they may not have a future.