The Indian wolf is a grey wolf subspecies found in west and South Asia. It was initially given species status as Canis pallipes but was assigned as a subspecies of the grey wolf by Reginald Pocock in 1941.
Indian Wolf Scientific Classification
|Canis lupus pallipes|
Table Of Content
|Canis lupus pallipes|
Size: They are rather small, being around 3 ft (91 cm) in length. The tail adds about 11-20 in (29-50 cm).
Weight: Indian wolves weigh around 55 lb (25 kg).
Color: The pelage is reddish-white to grayish-red with grey hues in general. The back has grizzly black hair lending it a dark V-patch near the shoulders. The belly is almost entirely white. Black individuals are rare but have been recorded.
These wolves can be found in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Israel.
They inhabit scrub-lands, thorn forests, arid, and semi-arid grasslands.
- They are social animals and live in small packs of up to 8 individuals.
- Indian wolves are territorial but do not howl like other grey wolves to advertise their ownership of a territory.
- They are nocturnal, being active between dusk and dawn.
They feed on hares, rodents, and antelopes. When hunting larger animals like antelopes, they hunt in pairs, where one acts as a decoy while the other jumps in from behind.
Mating & Reproduction
The Indian wolf, similar to other grey wolves, is monogamous. Females come into heat in around late winter. The gestation period lasts for around 62-75 days. Litters contain an average of 5-6 pups.
The pups are blind and deaf at birth. They gain eyesight after 9-12 days of birth. They become sexually mature after around 2 years.
They live for around 5 to 6 years on average in the wild but may live to be 13 under favorable conditions.
Sounds & Vocalizations
These are some of the quietest among the grey wolf subspecies.
- Despite losing their long fir during summer, Indian wolves retain their long back hair to protect against solar radiation.
Despite sharing their space with sloth bears, golden jackals, leopards, and tigers, Indian wolves are rarely preyed on in the wild.
IUCN Conservation Status
They are considered ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN.
- Indian wolves play a significant part in the Rudyard Kipling series ‘The Jungle Book’, where the human child Mowgli is raised by a pack of these canids.
- They were once, as a subspecies of the grey wolf, the most widely distributed mammal on earth. Their numbers have declined, however.