The Eurasian wolf is the largest species among 37 recognized subspecies of the gray wolf. They are also called the common wolf, the Carpathian Wolf, and the European Wolf.These wolves were once distributed widely throughout Eurasia before the Middle Ages.
The average weight of these wolves varies from region to region. While in Europe, they typically weigh around 86 lbs, in other areas, it might range between 152-174 lbs.
Body and Coloration:
The coloration of these wolves ranges between tawny, cream color, and pale greyish brown with a light underside and darker back. The white color on their chest extends to the cheeks and sometimes almost up to the eyes.
Eurasian wolves have slightly narrow heads and long ears, and their fur is much denser and shorter compared to American wolves.
These wolves’ distribution ranges from Western Europe through Scandinavia, Russia, Mongolia, China, and the Himalayan mountain ranges.
In the past, they also inhabited England and Ireland, but by the 17th century, the locals hunted them to extinction.
The territorial range of a pack ranges between 31-1200 square miles. This range depends on the abundance of prey.
Eurasian wolves prefer to occupy mountain regions, plains, scrublands, and tundra.
These animals build their dens in rock crevices or hollows around trees, also sometimes in the emptied burrow of other animals. The burrows can be quite large, with tunnels connecting to an underground chamber. Some of these dens have more than one entrance.
Their primary diet consists of various mammals, including chamois, fallow deer, ibex, moose, mouflon musk deer, reindeer, roe deer, red deer, saiga antelope, and wild goats. Sometimes they also consume wild boars and various domesticated breeds of livestock.
These wolves are diurnal and incredibly social. Although, their social behavior sometimes varies from region to region. For example, even though they are social, the wolves in the Carpathians are predominantly solitary hunters.
They form smaller packs containing about seven wolves.
Wolf packs vigorously defend their territories from the other packs.
They communicate with one another by using body positions, facial expressions, visual signals, scent marking, tail positions, and vocalizations which often include howls.
The wolf packs maintain a strict dominance hierarchy. Every pack has a pair of leaders, a male and a female.
Pack leaders achieve their position primarily by mating and reproducing. The pups then become their pack.
The lifespan of a Eurasian wolf is about 17 years, with the average being 6-8 years. Their life expectancy varies depending on the regions they inhabit.
Their body coloration helps them camouflage among the mountains by blending with their colors.
The coarse fur helps in keeping them warm in colder regions and during the winter.
Their sharp eyesight, sense of smell, and incredible hearing make it easier to hunt prey.
Mating and Reproduction
Wolves are monogamous. Their mating season lasts from winter to early spring, between January to March. Only male and female leaders can mate within the pack. This pair physically intimidates other adults to prevent them from mating at all.
After seven weeks of gestation, the female gives birth to 4-6 pups. The newborns drink their mother’s milk until they are eight weeks old, when they start weaning. They stay within the pack in dens under the protection and care of their mother. The father brings food for the pups in the den. Other members of the pack also provide for their food supply.
They reach reproductive maturity at two years of age; however, they only mate once they are older.
The wolves are apex predators; they do not have any natural enemies.
Eurasian wolves are listed as “Least Concern” or “LC” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Although some regions have managed to eradicate these wolves.
Russia has the highest population of Eurasian wolves.
Eurasian wolves are not as shy around humans as other gray wolves, although they are not exactly friendly either.
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