What makes a wolf a wolf?

What makes a wolf a wolf?


 

As members of the canidae family, wolves share many characteristics with their smaller cousins. However, there are some key differences that make a wolf a wolf. What are they? 

 

Size

Wolves are the largest member of the canidae family. They weigh between 75 and 120 pounds (females weigh about 5-10 pounds less than males do). They stand around 3 feet tall, and measure 4-5 feet in length. 

 

Fur

Their fur, which can come in a variety of colors, is designed to handle the extreme temperatures they face in winter and summer. To prep for the winter, wolves grow a thick coat to protect them from temperatures that can reach -40 degrees Fahrenheit. They’ll then shed the coat for the summer. 

 

Legs

Wolves have longer legs than other canids. This helps them move quicker. When paired with their incredible endurance, these qualities make wolves great travelers. They’ve been known to travel around 50 miles in a single day.

Paws

Their large paws give them an advantage over their prey. It allows them to move easier over snow so they have the advantage while hunting. Wolves often use their endurance to tire out their prey before they strike. 

 

Jaws & Teeth

When they do strike, their strong jaws and sharp teeth make easy work of their prey. Wolf bites have twice the strength of that of a German shepherd. Their jaw is designed to crush bones in a single bite, and wolves will chew through bones to get to the marrow inside. This strength also allows them to pin their prey down. They’ll often stop their prey from escaping with a well executed bite to the back leg tendons. 

 

Ears

Although most of their features are bigger than their canid brethren, wolves have smaller ears in proportion to their bodies than coyotes, jackals, and foxes. They’re shorter and more rounded, but wolves still have excellent hearing. Wolves can hear each other howl up to 5 miles away. 

 

Interested in exploring more about what makes wolves unique?
Read our article here to check out more information on family order, breeding behavior, territory, and how they communicate with each other! 



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