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The Artic Wolf





The arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also called snow wolf or white wolf, is a subspecies of the gray wolf, a mammal of the family Canidae. Arctic wolves inhabit the Canadian Arctic, Alaska and the northern parts of Greenland. They also have white fur and long canine teeth for killing their prey.

                        The arctic wolf inhabits the Canadian Arctic and the islands, parts of Alaska and northern parts of Greenland. Their habitat extends from 70° North latitude and higher. They have lived in North America for more than two million years. When they find a den, they make a couple of chambers for food and young. The arctic wolf is the only subspecies of the Gray Wolf that still can be found over the whole of its original range, largely because, in their natural habitat, they rarely encounter humans. The arctic wolf is also the only subspecies of wolf which is not threatened  their remote home means that they are relatively safe from man's activities, both in terms of hunting and habitat destruction.                        



Their habitat is extremely harsh and remote, and few scientists venture into that world during the long, dark winter  even the vast majority of Inuit live further south than the arctic wolf. As a result, the details of their lives through much of the year are virtually unknown.


The arctic wolf can withstand the arctic weather, with the help in their thoroughly insulated fur. They can survive in sub-zero temperatures for years, in absolute darkness for five months per year, and without food for weeks. Arctic Wolves usually travel in packs of 2 to 20. They live in small family groups: a breeding pair alpha male and female and their pups, or as baby wolves. The pack works together to feed and care for their pups. Lone arctic wolves are young males that have left their pack to seek their own territories. They avoid other wolves, unless they are able to mate. Having found an abandoned territory, a lone arctic wolf will claim it by marking the territory with its scent, then gather other lone wolves into its pack. When the female is pregnant, she leaves the pack to dig a den to raise her pups. If the ice is too thick, she will move to a den or cave to make it a home.


caribou and muskoxen, but also arctic hares, seals, ptarmigan, lemmings, and smaller animals such as waterfowl. Due to the scarcity of prey, they roam large areas, up to 2,600 km2 (1,000 sq mi), and follow migrating caribou south during the winter, for a food source. They are not fast runners, instead relying on stamina to take down prey.


Adult wolves have 42 teeth, their main weapon in hunting. They swallow food in large chunks, barely chewing it. They eat all of their prey, including the bones. Wolves can eat up to 20 pounds (9 kg) of meat at one meal. When they return from the hunt, wolves regurgitate some of the food for the hungry pups.

Like all wolves, arctic wolves hunt in packs, preying mainly on

Due to the Arctic's permafrost soil and the difficulty it always poses for digging dens, arctic wolves often use rock outcroppings, caves or even shallow depressions as dens instead. After gestation of about 63 days to 75 days, birth is in late May to early June, about a month later than Gray Wolves. The mother gives birth to 2 or 3 pups, though there may be as many as 12. This is fewer pups than gray wolves, which have four to five. It is generally thought that the lower number is due to the scarcity of prey in the Arctic. Pups are born blind and deaf, and weigh about one pound. They are dependent on their mother for food and protection. When they are 5 weeks old, they are allowed outside the den. Other wolves in the pack may take care of the mother’s pups until she returns with food

The ARCTIC WOLF is white. In winter it has a double layer of fur. Wolves look much like German Shepherd dogs, but wolves have longer legs, bigger feet, a wider head, and a long bushy tail. Most adult wolves weigh 75-120 pounds. Wolves have 42 teeth. Some wolves can run up to 40 miles per hour.


Wolves care for their young in a cave for five months. The alpha male and the alpha female are the head of the pack. The alpha female is the only one allowed to have pups.


Wolves often mate for life. Wolf pups are born in Spring time. There can be 3-12 puppies in a litter. At birth the pups only weigh about 1 pound. When the pups are 3 weeks old they are allowed out of the den. Some of the other wolves baby-sit while the mother is hunting. When the hunters return, the pups greet them. When the pups lick the mother wolf's jaws, the wolf brings up partly digested food. The pups are born deaf, blind, helpless. Pups are totally dependent on their mother.


People are moving into the few remaining areas where wolves are found in large numbers. There has never been a documented case of a healthy wild wolf deliberately attacking a person in North America. Wolves show their teeth when they are angry. When a wolf is scared, its ears go flat against its head. Wolves make different sounds to talk to each other. They whimper when they are restless or excited, they snarl when they are being threatened, they make a short woof as a warning. A bark means danger, and a howl is to tell other packs to stay out of their territory.


Wolves are social animals that live in groups called packs. Zoologist believe the members of a pack stay together because they have strong affection for each other. Some wolves leave the pack and become lone wolves. A lone wolf travels alone until it finds a mate. Those two may have pups and form a pack. Wolves are very shy animals and are afraid of people. When they wag their tail it means they're happy. If just the tip is wags it means it's getting ready to attack.


When threatened, musk ox form a circle around their calves. The wolves dart and nip until the musk ox run. Then the wolves chase the calves and often catch them. Wolves mainly eat Arctic hare, musk ox, Arctic fox, caribou, and lemmings. Wolves will often go days without food, but then can eat 10 pounds of meat at one time. The pack fans out into a circle around the animals. Then one wolf charges and attacks the animal. It hangs on tightly while others attack. Soon the fight is over and the hungry wolves can eat.

They live in groups up to 30 but usually 7-10. Wolves are social animals living together in a family groups called packs. In order to live peacefully , they have an elaborate system of who is in charge. Wolves live between 7-16 years. Wolves live in Asia, Europe, and the Arctic Circle in North America.


Wolves must hunt in packs because the animals they hunt (e.g. caribou) are too large for a single wolf to take down. Surprise attacks are almost impossible in the tundra. Once the pack has found a herd of caribou, the caribou will form a circle to protect their young. The wolves now have to somehow get the caribou to shift. To accomplish this, one wolf will move from side to side to try and get the caribou to shift. Once the wolf sees the chance, it acts. Once the wolves have infiltrated the circle the caribou will flee. The wolves will then take down the smaller and weak animals. This is the classic case of "Only the strongest will survive".

The wolves are always on the move in the fall and winter. But after mating in March, the pregnant female will leave the pack to find a nursery den. Since the ground is often frozen, she is often forced to return to an old den. The cubs are born deaf, blind and helpless. They are totally dependent upon their mother, and she in turn relies on her mate to bring her the food she needs. After about four weeks, the cubs are able to eat meat. The whole pack shares in the job of feeding them with regurgitated meat from a kill. After about a year, the cubs break away of their dependence on their mother and go out on their own.


Arctic Wolf


The arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos), a subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus), is very similar to other wolves. It lives and hunts in packs, has a social hierarchy, and holds territories. It differs from other wolves in its habitat, appearance, and prey species.


Arctic wolves live primarily in the Arctic, the region located above 67° north latitude. The land is covered with snow and ice for most of the year, except for a brief period during the summer. Arctic wolves have adapted well to this icy environment. They have white fur, which allows them to blend into their snowy surroundings. To help reduce heat loss, they have more-rounded ears, a shorter muzzle and shorter legs than other gray wolf subspecies. They also have hair between the pads of their feet and long, thick fur to keep them warm in temperatures that can drop to minus 70° Fahrenheit.

A low density of prey in the Arctic requires these wolves to have territories of well over 1,000 square miles, much larger than their southern relatives. The main prey of the arctic wolf are musk oxen, and arctic hare, but they will also eat Peary caribou, ptarmigan, lemmings, seals, and nesting birds.


Permafrost in the Arctic makes it difficult for the wolves to dig dens. Instead, their dens are often found in rock outcroppings, caves or shallow depressions in the tundra soil. The mother will give birth to 2-3 pups in late May to early June, about a month later than the southern subspecies. On average, the number of pups raised in the Arctic is lower than the average 5-6 pups born to wolves further south. This lower number may be due to scarcity of prey in the Arctic.



Arctic wolves inhabit some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world: tundra, rolling hills, glacier valleys, ice fields, shallow lakes and green flats. They can live in places where the temperature is consistently below zero and the ground is always frozen. The arctic wolf is one of the few mammals that can tolerate these conditions. They have a keen sense of sight, smell, and hearing. The wolf preys on lemmings and arctic hare, but its most substantial source of food is the musk ox and caribou. Since there is not much grass on the "frozen tundra", the wolf must travel great distances to find food.

A single wolf pack often travels distances up to 800 square miles in search of prey. When the temperature drops, the pack will follow the migrating animals south. Wolves usually live in small packs, or family groups, that consist of a breeding pair (the alpha male and female), their cubs, and their unmated offspring. All the wolves in the pack look up to and follow the Alpha male and female. The pack cooperates in feeding and caring for the cubs. Lone wolves are usually young males that have left the pack in search of their own territories. They avoid other wolves, unless they are potential mates. When a lone wolf finds unoccupied territory, it will claim it by marking it with its scent. The wolf will then start it's own pack when other lone wolves enter the territory. 



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