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Arctic wolf

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Arctic wolf
Arctic Wolf 2.jpg
Scientific Classification
Trinomial

Canis lupus arctos

The Arctic Wolf is a subspecies of wolf known by the scientific name Canis lupus arctos, which is also called Polar Wolf or White Wolf. Their habit ranges throughout the Canadian Arctic and the northern parts of Greenland. In appearance they closely resemble the Tundra Wolf (Canis lupus albus) found in northern Europe and Asia.[1] Like all wolves, God created the arctic wolf on Day 6 of Creation.

Anatomy

The Arctic wolf in the Berlin zoological garden

Arctic Wolves tend to be slightly smaller than that of the Gray Wolf ranging from three to five feet long, including the tail; males are larger than females. The height of their shoulders varies from 25 to 30 inches. They are more bulky than the Grey Wolf and usually weigh about 100 pounds. Although 175 pound full grown, male Arctic Wolves have been observed. [2]

Reproduction

An arctic wolf pup

In captivity they have reached an age of over 17 years; however, their lifespan, if living in the wild, is around seven years. [3]

Usually the alpha male and female are the only ones breeding but in packs others mate, too. Since the Arctic soil is frozen, it poses difficulty for digging dens. Arctic Wolves often use rock outcroppings, caves or shallow depressions as dens instead. The mother gives birth to two or three pups in late May to early June, about a month later than Grey Wolves. Generally, the lower number of pups compared to the average of 4 to 5 with Grey Wolves is from the lack of prey in the Arctic. Female Arctic wolves have a gestation (reproduction related) period of about 63 days. The wolf pups stay with their mother for 2 years.

When born, wolf pups tend to have darker fur and their eyes have blue irises that will change to a yellow-gold or orange color when they are between 8 and 16 weeks old. It's very unusual, but it is possible for an adult Arctic Wolf to keep its blue irises. [4]

Ecology

Distribution of Arctic wolves

Wolves eat caribou, small walruses and musk oxen. At first, like many animals, pups drink their mother's milk, but when the are ready to take the next step, other pack members eat, digest, then regurgitate the food for the pups to eat, since the pups can't digest food at this stage. By catching insects and rodents, the pups develop hunting skills. Once a few weeks or a month goes by, the mother takes the pups hunting.

Arctic wolves can search for food in a range of 15-20 miles and still, only about 7% of the time do they find food. So they never waste food. For instance, one caribou can last a pack up to three weeks. Since the animals that Arctic Wolves hunt are bigger and stronger, they have to plan strategy attacks. For example, one wolf will run towards the front of the caribou to stop it, one from the back to catch it, and one from each side to secure it. Wolf pack rarely attack humans because they aren't really vicious. [5]

Wolves have to adapt to the seasonal changes and do in many ways. The bottom of their feet have thick pads that make it so their feet don't get cold or wet while running or hunting. Running smoothly is accomplished with feet that spread apart while running. Another of their adaptions is their amazing hearing. From five miles away they can hear another wolf's howl. They can also hear their prey, like caribou, coming from far away. Wolves howl and bark to get other wolves that aren't in the pack away from their food. Each wolf's bark and howl is different from other wolves. [6]

Pack living

Description

During the summer, right before the pups are born, the pack will find a hillside and make a den in it for the mother to have her pups in. She usually gives birth to 5-9 pups. Their eyes open after about 15 days. Once their eyes open, they get annoying and start gnawing at their parents and other pack members. They get disciplined with little, gentle bites on their neck. The pack helps baby-sit, feed and clean the pups. After about 8-10 weeks, the pups are allowed to leave the den where they have lives their lives so far. As it becomes a wolf, it's place in the pack will be decided.

The Alpha male and Alpha female are the leader of the packs. The ranking goes Alpha male, Alpha female, the normal wolves, then the pups. The Alpha male is supposed to be the most strong and brave wolf in the whole pack; therefore, if he gets scared, then the rest of the wolves are very scared. The purpose of this is to prevent fighting among the pack. Generally, a wolf won't stay with the pack it was born and raised in. [7]

Gallery

References