Natural Wonders Table of Contents
Natural Wonders is a series consisting of 11 parts.
- Natural Wonders: Quaking Aspen Trees
- Natural Wonders: Monarch Butterflies
- Natural Wonders: Barred Owls
- Natural Wonders: Hot Springs
- Natural Wonders: Grizzly Bears
- Natural Wonders: Marble
- Natural Wonders: Fall Aster
- Natural Wonders: Black Widow Spider
- Natural Wonders: Gray Wolf
- Natural Wonders: Bald Eagles
- Natural Wonders: Arctic Fox
Gray wolves range in color from white to black, usually resulting in gray color combinations.
The wolves stand 26-32 inches high at the shoulder, and are generally 4 and a half to 6 and a half feet in length from their nose to their tail.
Gray wolves eat large-hoofed mammals, including elk, deer, moose and caribou, as well as small prey such as beaver and rabbits.
The range of the wolves has been reduced to to Canada and the following areas of the United States: Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Gray wolves live and travel in packs of an average of four to seven wolves. A wolf pack is generally made up of an adult male and female, and the young of these two alpha wolves.
They communicate with a series of barks, whines, growls and howls, which is essential for each pack’s survival. The wolves work together to hunt, protect their territory and raise their young.
The mating season for the gray wolves is in January or February, and in the spring wolves have litter of four to seven pups. The pack cares for the pups until about 10 months. Wolves live an average of seven to eight years in the wild.
Although wolves were once common throughout all of North America, most of them were killed in the mid 1930s in most areas of the United States. Wolves are often killed in conflict with people over their livestock loses.
“There are an estimated 7,000 to 11,200 wolves in Alaska and more than 5,000 in the lower 48 states,” according to the Defenders of Wildlife. ”Around the world there are an estimated 200,000 in 57 countries, compared to up to 2 million in earlier times.”
Wolves throughout the Lower 48 United States are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, except in Minnesota where they are listed as threatened. In Alaska, however, wolves are not listed under the ESA.