Different Types of Wolves

September 10, 2014 | 0

Three major species of wolves are recognized throughout the world. These are the Gray wolf, Ethopian wolf, and Red wolf. Several subspecies also exist. These subgroups are named according to the place they are predominantly found. There are a lot of similarities between these species just as they are enough differences to help you distinguish them.

A lot of research work has been done to distinguish these species and the more the research results are analyzed, the wide the differences are drawn. Differences can be drawn based on the following parameters; anatomy, evolution, behavior and habit, distribution or habitat, diet and feeding habits, and reproduction.

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grey wolf

The gray wolf

This specie is also known as the Canis lupus. This is the scientific name and Canis shows the genus and denotes that the wolf is a member of the dog family. The gray wolf is the commonest among the species and as a result is also referred to as common wolf.  It is the type that most people are familiar with. They are however, mistaken with other species easily. This is because its appearance can change drastically depending on the habitat.

The most anatomic distinguishing feature of this specie is that it has a narrow head compared to the other species. Though they are powerful just like the other species, their shoulder muscle mass is much less than the other types. They are not as fast as other types but they can run for extended periods.

Studies have shown that this type of wolves evolved from canines. As at presents, several subspecies have been identified. The significant difference between member of this type shows that these wolves moved from different places but the common environment that they shared unified them. They are able to adapt to a variety of environmental conditions. They have a large habitant to occupy as long as there is availability of food.

Such wolves have been found occupying mountains, desserts, plains, grasslands, and even urban locations. Due to the destruction of most of the habitants, they are becoming less and less common. Efforts have been made to re-introduce them into these habitants and these programs have shown that creating such environments can keep them in existence.

The gray wolves tend to bring order and balance to the ecosystems in which they occupy; at least some individuals believe so. They have been shown to be opportunistic on their feeding habits. They feed on many things ranging from small rodents to medium sized and very large animals. They have been found not to attack still prey but instead chase and take down their prey.

Regarding their reproduction habits, they have a long mating season which extends from January to April. The male leader referred as alpha leader, mate with the beta female. He may also mate with any female member of his group also. In other species, the alpha male mates with the beta female only. After mating, it takes approximately two months before delivery. The pups delivered are deaf and blind. They are usually four or six with each weighing about one pound.

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Predators for the gray wolves are mainly human. Farmers and rangers always attack them and prey on them. Other individuals mistake them for dangerous creatures and therefore kill them. However, common wolves are considered to be among the animals that have better survival chances regarding predations.

gray wolf pictures

The red wolf  

This type gets its name from its coloring.  The presence of a red tint in their fur may make you to confuse them with fox. Other variant of this specie is the brown ones. They mainly inhabit North Carolina and South Carolina in USA. They are in great danger of extinction compared to their gray counterparts. They are also lone hunters and do not display collaborated efforts of with other pack members. They are therefore more reliant on small preys which include mice, rabbits, and raccoons.

types of wolves

The arctic wolf

These have a white and yellow coloring. They tend to inhabit the coldest region of the arctic hence their name. Their habitants have few other animals and therefore it might be hard for them to find a prey. They also face risk of extinction too due to the emerging environmental problems such as global warming.

The Himalayan wolf

This type is found in remote areas in several countries, which include; Bhutan, India, Nepal, China, and Pakistan. They are believed to have been separated from other species during evolution. They are closely related to the Indian wolves but no significant evidence has been shown that these species breed or form common parks.

The Ethiopian wolf

This specie as the name suggests is found mainly in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa. They closely resemble the gray wolves but they are smaller and often confused for a coyote. They exist in packs but seem to be venturing out individually and therefore commonly hunt small preys.

 The eastern wolf

This is rarely encountered specie. It closely resembles the gray or red subspecies and as a result you may readily mistake it for these two commoner species. Mostly found in Canada and United States of America, their reproduction habits resemble those of the gray species among other similarities.

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