Arctic Wolf — Wolf Facts and Information

Anatomy

Due to the extreme cold where the Arctic Wolf lives, they have two thick layers of fur. The outer layer actually gets thicker as the winter months come along. They first layer helps to form a waterproof barrier for the skin. As a result their body temperature can stay warm enough even when it is bitter cold.

These wolves also have smaller ears than other species. That is part of them staying warm as well. They also help them to regular their overall body temperature. Since the ground is permanently frozen they have padded paws that are designed to offer them a good grip when they walk.

Arctic wolf

Thanks to its isolation, the arctic wolf is not threatened by hunting and habitat destruction like its southern relatives.  In fact, the arctic wolf is the only sub-species of wolf that is not threatened.

Physical Description
Arctic wolves are smaller than grey wolves, They also have smaller ears and shorter muzzles to retain body heat.

Size
Length: about 1-1.8m, including tail.
Weight: 45-70kg

Diet
The arctic wolf lives mainly on muskox, Arctic hares and caribou.

Reproduction
As the permafrost (permanently frozen ground) prevents the Arctic wolf from digging a den, they typically live in rocky outcrops or caves. Each year the mother wolf gives birth to two or three pups.

Distribution
Arctic regions of North Amercia and Greenland.

What are the main threats?
Unlike other species of wolf, the Arctic wolf rarely comes into contact with human so does not face the threat of hunting or persecution. However, the greatest threat to the Arctic wolf is climate change. Extreme weather variations in recent years have made it difficult for populations of muskox and Arctic hares to find food, and this has caused a decline in numbers. In turn, this has reduced the traditional food supply of the Arctic wolf.

Industrial development also poses a threat to the wolf, as an increasing number of mines, roads and pipelines encroach on the wolf’s territory, and interrupt its food supply.

  • The scientific name for the Arctic Wolf is Canis Lupus Arcticus.
  • Arctic wolves are a subspecies of Gray Wolves.
  • Their habitat is the northern most regions of North America and the north and east shores of Greenland.
  • Due to the scarcity of prey in the Arctic these wolves have territories that can extend 1,000 square miles or more, much wider than wolves who live further south.
  • Arctic wolves sometimes live alone but usually live in packs of between five and eight wolves. Packs hunt together and can kill larger prey than a lone wolf. Packs have a complex social order led by a dominant male and female wolf. Only the alpha (dominant) female will have pups.
  • Their life span in the wild is about 7 years.
  • These predators diet consist of numerous animals of the arctic including musk oxen, caribou, arctic hare, lemmings, seals, ptarmigan, and other birds.
  • The soil in their habitat for the most part stays frozen year round, a condition called permafrost, which makes it impossible to dig dens. These animals find shelter in caves and rock coverings.
  • The biggest threats to these animals are Polar bears, other wolves, and of course humans. Unlike other wolf species the Arctic Wolf has never been seriously threatened by humans due to the fact there are very few humans living in the arctic.
  • The Arctic Wolf is usually completely white. This white coat provides great camouflage in the snowy Arctic.
  • It has two layers of fur which provide excellent insulation from the freezing climate it lives in.
  • These wolves are smaller than other gray wolf subspecies with shorter muzzles and ears to help prevent loss of heat. They also have shorter legs and are bulkier than other wolves, all which help it stay warm.
  • Male adult Arctic Wolves weigh between 75 and 120 pounds (34 — 54 kilograms), females weigh slightly less.
  • These mammals are 3 to 5 feet long (90 — 150 centimeters) from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail.
  • Their height, measured at the shoulder is 25 — 30 inches (63 — 76 centimeters).
  • These animals have a thick white fur coat which helps keep them warm and serves as camouflage in their snowy habitat.
  • Arctic wolves have many different characteristics from gray wolves, all of which help them survive in their colder habitat. To reduce their exposure to the freezing air they have developed shorter legs, shorter muzzles, and smaller ears.
  • The Arctic Wolf has hair between the pads of its feet that keep their feet warm as they walk on the frozen landscape.
  • In order to reduce heat loss, they have more rounded ears, a shorter muzzle and shorter legs than other gray wolf subspecies.
  • These animals have adapted well to survival as a predator in the harsh arctic climate. Their keen eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell help them find prey.
  • These predators have developed great endurance; which is often necessary when searching for limited prey in arctic regions. They may travel up to ten hours a day covering more than forty miles in search of food.
  • Arctic wolves can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour (64.4 km per hour) over short distances. This speed enables it to catch most of its prey if it starts its attack from a close enough point.

Behavior

Some people believe that the Arctic Wolf is a loner by nature but that isn’t true. Those that are seen alone may be away from their pack to search for food. They can also be on their own looking to make their own pack.

These wolves happen to be very territorial. However, most of them do have hundreds of miles that they can cover within their home range. As a result of this they don’t really mind so much when other packs have a territory that overlaps. They do heavily mark their territory though with urine and their own scent.

Description

No other wolf in the world can offer the same coloring as the Arctic Wolf. It is very unique due to the location where it is found. While some species of wolves do have some white coloring, this one is almost completely white. They do offer some aspects of yellow, gray, and black in places though.

The overall size of them will depend on where they happen to live in their region. Some of them only weight about 75 pounds. Others though can weigh up to 125. Some of them are about 3 feet in length when they are fully grown. Others are twice that long though at about 6 feet.

Ecological niche

As carnivorous hunters, these wolves help to control the numbers of animals such as musk-oxen, Arctic hares and caribou, as well as other animals inhabiting the region.

Evolution

The information about the evolution of the Arctic Wolf continues to be debated among the experts. It is believed by most they that evolved from other types of canines more than 50 million years ago. It is also believed that due to the Ice Age some wolves ended up in this very cold region.

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