- A-Z Animals
A subspecies of the gray wolf, the arctic wolf is found in regions of colder climates. Also referred to as the polar wolf or the white wolf, it is easily recognizable from its smaller size and snowy-white fur. However, they are challenging to spot in the wild because they live in harsh conditions, making it hard to observe them regularly.
|C. l. arctos|
|C. l. arctos|
British zoologist Reginald Pocock first described this species based on a specimen he saw on Melville Island, Canada, in 1935.
Size: Length: 3.2 to 5.9 feet (1-1.8m) Weight: 70 to 175 pounds (45-70kg)
Teeth: These wolves have powerful jaws, consisting of 42 teeth, including 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 10 molars, the canines being the sharpest of all.
Body and coloration: They have a long, silky coat and a bushy tail. Their legs are long, and their paws are large and spread, with retractable claws.
Their coats are generally white, though sometimes gray variations have been seen in the wild.
These wolves live in the Arctic region, above latitudes of 67º North, primarily in North America and Greenland.
They live in snowy areas, having adapted to colder climates over long periods.
It mainly feeds on arctic hares and musk oxen, but other animals like Arctic foxes, beetles, birds, caribou, and lemmings also form a part of their diet though depending upon availability. Some of them that live near human habitations rummage through garbage in search of food.
The arctic wolf, on average, lives for 7 years in the wild.
Are they aggressive
Researches have shown that the Arctic wolf’s level of aggression on humans varies as per their interaction with the latter. Those living in isolation display a curious and cautious behavior whereas wolves living in human habituation appear more violent.
While they don’t have many natural predators, polar bears are known to attack isolated wolf cubs.
Arctic wolves are monogamous and the predominant pair of the pack mate for life. The breeding season takes place around March to April.
After a gestation period of 63 days, a litter of 2-3 wolf pups or whelps is born. Females generally give birth in May. The pup’s eyes and ears are initially closed and take about 12-14 days to develop fully. In a few weeks, they go from being nursed to eating the regurgitated provided by their mother. For 6 months, they stay with their mother before engaging in group activities. By 8 months, they become full-grown adults.
The IUCN lists this wolf as “Least Concern” or “LC”. However, it faces certain threats in the form of climate change and the decline of the prey population.