The term wolf is usually used of the gray wolf, Canis lupus.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia (all animals)
Phylum: Chordata (animals with notochords)
Subphylum: Vertebrata (animals with a skeleton of bone or cartilage)
Class: Mammalia (mammals)
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
Family: Canidae (dog family)
Genus: Canis (dogs)
Species: lupus (wolves)

Physical description
The physical appearance of the wolf is much like a dog, the average length (from tip of nose to tip of tail) is about 5 to 6.5 feet on males and 4.5 to 6 feet on females.

Other typical characteristics include:

Average height(at the shoulder)
26 to 32 inches

Average weight
males: 70 to 110 pounds; females: 60 to 80 pounds

Weight at birth
1 pound

up to 13 years in wild; 14 to 15 years in captivity

Average foot size
4 inches wide by 5 inches long

gray, but can also be black or white

Number of teeth
42 teeth

Breeding season
February to March

Gestation period
63 days

Size of a wolf litter is 4 to 6 pups. Pup mortality rate is approximately 40% to 60% a year.

5 mph on average, but can reach speeds of 35 mph during a chase

A pack of wolves is usually a family group consisting of a pair of adult parents, and their offspring of the last 2 or 3 years. Packs vary in size because of birth rate of pups, dispersal and mortality. Typical pack consists of 2 to 15 wolves. The size of a pack's territory may be anything from 25 to 1000 square miles.

Wolves are extremely social animals. They co-operate with other pack members to maintain territories, obtain food and to bring up their young. Packs maintain and protect territories from other packs by howling, direct confrontation of trespassing wolves and by scent marking.

Wolves have a wide variety of vocalizations. They use howls for long distance communication. Howls can warn wolves of other packs that an area is occupied by a resident pack, bring together pack members which have become separated and announce to pups that other pack members are returning to the den site. Howls can help lone wolves to find others of the opposite sex in order to establish new packs. Barks and growls are the wolf's aggressive vocalizations. Adult wolves also often squeak to pups to call them, feed them or to check that they are in the neighborhood.

Body language is also an important form of communication for wolves. Postures, ears, tail and body positions give messages to other wolves about the moods and intentions of the individual.

Wolves are predators. Their common prey is deer, moose, beaver, caribou, elk, bison, musk-oxen, sheep, and the occasional goat, depending on the area they live in. Wolves also act as species regulators as they usually only prey upon the weak or diseased animals.

Social organization
Wolves fight for rank in the pack, for mates, and food. The leader of the pack is of either sex, so called alpha wolf, followed by the beta and the omega individuals. Most aggressiveness is expressed between the betas of the same sex fighting to be an alpha. Fights usually involve a lot of noise and action: jumping, snapping and chasing. The wolves rarely get hurt, especially if they are packmates, but sometimes the wolf who loses a fight may be driven out of the pack or even killed.

Main threats to survival
Loss of habitat due to destruction, development and encroachment by humans. Also persecution by humans.

Wolves! page at
Canis Lupus page by Justin Strauber at
International Wolf Center,

Wolves: Each wolf belongs to a pack, and each pack belongs to a leader. There is a male and female leader in a pack, (alpha male and alpha female). The alpha female is in charge of the females in the pack, and helps the alpha male make sure the other wolves follow the alpha male’s rules. A wolf pack normally sleeps during the middle of a day, but is out and about in early morning and evening. If you see the tracks of a wolf pack, it is hard to see how many wolves there were because the pack travels in a single file line, each wolf stepping into the tracks of the one ahead of it, so in the end, it looks like the tracks of a single wolf, not a whole pack.

Wolves don’t have the right shape of mouth to talk, so they use the sounds they can make, and body language to communicate. For example, a threat may be a growl, a snarl, bared teeth, a wrinkled nose, a raised tail, fluffed out fur, or a hard stare. But there are also signs of affection, such as licking.

Many wolves howl.It’s a beautiful singing cry. Wolves howl for different reasons; a pack of wolves may howl to warn other packs they are there, and this is their territory, or they might howl to celebrate the birth of new born pups. A pack of wolves also howls to keep in touch during a hunt, (although one might say this could scare away the prey). When a wolf leaves a pack, it howls its good-byes, and then it may howl to attract a mate to start a pack of it’s own. After all, only the alpha male and female of a pack are allowed to mate. Sometimes wolves will answer humans if they howl like wolves.

Wolves are beautiful animals. Have you ever seen the northern lights? They flash greens, blues, purples and oranges. Wolves gather around to watch this spectacle of nature. Some native North Americans believed that these lights were wolves bounding from the sky, to the earth.

Food: In the wild food isn’t just “there” like most people may be used to; it’s scarce, you have to go hunting for it, you have to hunt it down. A pack of wolves can’t just open up a fridge, and pull out some leftover pizza or some canned soup, they need to find their prey, and kill it. Determination. Hunting keeps wolves very busy.

Though wolves are hunters, from time to time they nibble on berries, or bits of grass. A lone wolf must go for easy targets; such as mice, squirrels, rabbits and birds, but if it is a pack of wolves, they may go for larger prey such as deer, moose, buffaloes and musk-ox. Prey may be hard to catch, but a wolf’s life depends on the success of the hunt, so they must develop different strategies to make a kill. A pack may take turns chasing the animal to tire it out, or trap the prey by forming a circle. Sometimes one half of the pack may chase the prey towards the other half. After a successful hunt, the leader of the pack gets the first choice of meat. The leader needs to be well-fed and strong to lead the pack. After a meal, the wolves are all tiered from chasing down the prey, so the leader picks a resting place.

Left-over meat is sometimes buried to be preserved for times when hunting is poor, or brought back to young pups who are too young to hunt with the pack. There are times when wolves don’t have to worry too much about left-overs; ravens are known to sometimes snatch food from wolves, sometimes right out of their mouths!

Habitat: Wolves either live in the forest, or in the Arctic. Wolves that live in the Arctic are called Tundra wolves. Each pack of wolves has their own territory. A wolf territory should have lots of food and plenty of shelter. Sometimes a pack can own a space up to the size of a large city! Even 5 000 square kilometers. Inside their territory, the wolves often travel up to twenty miles a day, hunting and tending to their family.

There are wolves in the United States, Europe, Canada and several parts of Asia. There are about 5 000 to 15 000 wolves in Alaska.

Appearance: Wolves are the biggest wild dogs in the world. They have bristly fur, bushy tails and a large rounded head. Some call them a larger, shaggier version of the German Shepherd, except they have longer legs and larger paws to help them run in the snow easier.

They have small black noses that enable them to smell a deer from a mile away, and pointed ears that allow them to hear noises even farther away! Contrary to what some may have heard, a wolf can see just as well as a human. Their legs are packed with muscles; they can race up to 40 miles an hour! They are good travelers, one wolf could trot for nearly half a day!

Male wolves are bigger then females. The males are found at about two and a half to three feet tall, weighing around seventy five to one hundred pounds. Females are usually one and a half to two and a half feet tall, and weigh sixty to eighty pounds. Nobody has seen every single wolf that ever existed, but the largest one ever found weighed about one hundred and seventy five pounds. Wolves in Canada and Alaska are usually larger than wolves found in the southern United States.

Babies: Before wolf pups are born, the mother must find a den. The den should be a nice protected spot shielded from the wind and rain. It could be a den, a cave, a nook among thick shrubs, or even a hollow log. Some packs don’t bother to find a new den, they just reuse an old one. Some packs have reused the same den for hundreds of years. After the alpha female finds her den, she stands guard. She will attack any intruder but her mate.

Wolves have been known to have up to eleven pups, each pup weighing about as much as a loaf of bread. The mother wolf must stay close to her pups, because they are born blind and deaf. The other members of the pack bring her food. Wolves can be foster parents, sometimes they adopt orphan wolves.

The mother and her pups stay in the den for three weeks; then it’s time to go exploring outside. The alpha female can’t stay with her pups all the time; she needs some breaks. Sometimes other wolves will babysit the pups for a couple of hours while she’s gone, maybe for about 2 to 3 hours.

At the age of two months the pups leave the den for good, but there are still dangers. Hawks and eagles try to snatch the pups, and are sometimes successful. After the pups leave the den they are likely to live for thirteen years or more, but wolves have lived up to 17 years old.

Pups are playful and love to goof around, but their parents are pretty strict teachers. If pups misbehave the parents might growl, bite or even knock the pup over and hold them down for a few seconds, just to show them who’s boss.

A wolf’s biggest enemy is a human. If an alpha male or female senses the presence of people nearby, it will direct all the pack into the den, where they hide until the people pass.

Wolves are villians in Fairy Tales. If you meet one, you can be sure he will be up to no good. It may even be that the no good is aimed at you, so generally avoid wolves as much as possible. Wolves are found, almost exclusively, in the deep, dark Forest - though the houses, especially belonging to grandmothers also hold some fasination.

Though there is, no doubt, plenty of game in the Forest for the wolves to hunt, and eat, generally they prefer succulent, young heroine. Hmmmm, young heroine. In general, though there are, most likely, more than one wolf, it is normally only a single animal which will be seen and attack - indeed this may be the reason that he likes to gobble down lone heroines.

It seems that wolves have no natural predators in the wild, so this makes them bold indeed. Often they will come right up to houses, and even try to break and enter them. Indeed the only people with experience of disinfecting houses infested with wolves are Woodsmen. In all the records, it appears as if Woodmen are the only people EVER to kill a wolf.

Wolves may have a number of anomolous abilities which may not be expected. The first is that they swallow people whole. Just wolf them straight down. This is handy, as if you get a Woodman to help, quick enough, then it is possible to save the unfortunate who was eaten. It appears that wolves are also able to destroy all but the strudiest of accomodation. Though records of this act are scratchy at best, almost all civilised people now build in the safest material - brick.

Wolves are easy to recognise. They have unusually large eyes, noses, ears and teeth. If you meet anyone with this description then leave them alone, wolves can be dangerous. Go fetch your nearest Woodsman, he will handle it.

Regarding canis lupus, the grey wolf, I can only say one thing: Wolves rule. That is all. I regrettably can't say much more. They just do. =)

This was my Subjective Writeup of the Day. Now, to make an objective writeup...

I first heard of this game through MikroBitti and thought "wow, finally they made a game that really interests me." Oh yes. Then I saw a review, with screenshots, in some British PC mag. Seventy-something percent. Grr. (I supposed I could add +10% just for sheer interest on the subject =) And, when I saw the game in stores, I immediately got it.
And when I found the CD-ROM version in bargain bins, I got it too. (This was in the age when a floppy version took 17 megs of expensive disk space and CD-ROM version one, and had the red book CD audio soundtrack.)

I fist installed the game on my father's 486SX laptop. The thing had a grayscale VGA display. I thought the game was pretty damn good on that, already, but it had one serious drawback: A grey wolf looking for a grey rabbit in the wintery grey forest... Good hunting!!!

Now, what is Wolf? It is, quite simply, a simulation of wolf's life, produced in 1995 by Sancruary woods (nowadays called Theatrix). It's sort of a roleplaying/action game. The game features several different wolves (some based on wolves in Wolf Haven), and you took the role of one of them. You had your own position in the pack, and had to deal with that. (Being the Alpha wasn't always easy.) It simulated all sorts of lupine things: hunting everything from small to large prey, feeding the pack, feeding the cubs, getting more cubs, dealing with other wolf packs, dealing with your position in the pack, and RUNNING when you saw or heard or smelled humans... There were both missions ("Kill a deer", "Become the alpha", "survive for a period", etc) and "free-form" simulation mode.

It's certainly an unique game, and even when it's sort of mundane in concept (hey, a "real life" simulation, whee, thrilling, Daily Routines), it's definitely an interesting game!

Graphics are pretty good for that day and age, and music is absolutely marvellous. Good sound samples, too. =) Also, nice animations, especially the longer animations in the CD-ROM version (the "kissing wolves" one was pretty cuuuute =) The game also had an "encyclopedia" about wolves.

In case you don't have a copy and fail to find one, the game is available from The Underdogs (rated a Top Dog and 9.35/10 at the moment... I just find the "Top Dog" rating a bit funny in the context of the content of the game =)

Wolf (?), n.; pl. Wolves (#). [OE. wolf, wulf, AS. wulf; akin to OS. wulf, D. & G. wolf, Icel. &umac;lfr, Sw. ulf, Dan. ulv, Goth. wulfs, Lith. vilkas, Russ. volk', L. lupus, Gr. ly`kos, Skr. v&rsdot;ka; also to Gr. "e`lkein to draw, drag, tear in pieces. &root;286. Cf. Lupine, a., Lyceum.]

1. Zool.

Any one of several species of wild and savage carnivores belonging to the genus Canis and closely allied to the common dog. The best-known and most destructive species are the European wolf (Canis lupus), the American gray, or timber, wolf (C. occidentalis), and the prairie wolf, or coyote. Wolves often hunt in packs, and may thus attack large animals and even man.

2. Zool.

One of the destructive, and usually hairy, larvae of several species of beetles and grain moths; as, the bee wolf.


Fig.: Any very ravenous, rapacious, or destructive person or thing; especially, want; starvation; as, they toiled hard to keep the wolf from the door.


A white worm, or maggot, which infests granaries.


An eating ulcer or sore. Cf. Lupus.


If God should send a cancer upon thy face, or a wolf into thy side. Jer. Taylor.

6. Mus. (a)

The harsh, howling sound of some of the chords on an organ or piano tuned by unequal temperament.


In bowed instruments, a harshness due to defective vibration in certain notes of the scale.

7. Textile Manuf.

A willying machine.


Black wolf. Zool. (a) A black variety of the European wolf which is common in the Pyrenees. (b) A black variety of the American gray wolf. -- Golden wolf Zool., the Thibetan wolf (Canis laniger); -- called also chanco. -- Indian wolf Zool., an Asiatic wolf (Canis pallipes) which somewhat resembles a jackal. Called also landgak. -- Prairie wolf Zool., the coyote. -- Sea wolf. Zool. See in the Vocabulary. -- Strand wolf Zool. the striped hyena. -- Tasmanian wolf Zool., the zebra wolf. -- Tiger wolf Zool., the spotted hyena. -- To keep the wolf from the door, to keep away poverty; to prevent starvation. See Wolf, 3, above. Tennyson. -- Wolf dog. Zool. (a) The mastiff, or shepherd dog, of the Pyrenees, supposed by some authors to be one of the ancestors of the St. Bernard dog. (b) The Irish greyhound, supposed to have been used formerly by the Danes for chasing wolves. (c) A dog bred between a dog and a wolf, as the Eskimo dog. -- Wolf eel Zool., a wolf fish. -- Wolf fish Zool., any one of several species of large, voracious marine fishes of the genus Anarrhichas, especially the common species (A. lupus) of Europe and North America. These fishes have large teeth and powerful jaws. Called also catfish, sea cat, sea wolf, stone biter, and swinefish. -- Wolf net, a kind of net used in fishing, which takes great numbers of fish. -- Wolf's peach Bot., the tomato, or love apple (Lycopersicum esculentum). -- Wolf spider Zool., any one of numerous species of running ground spiders belonging to the genus Lycosa, or family Lycosidae. These spiders run about rapidly in search of their prey. Most of them are plain brown or blackish in color. See Illust. in App. -- Zebra wolf Zool., a savage carnivorous marsupial (Thylacinus cynocephalus) native of Tasmania; -- called also Tasmanian wolf.


© Webster 1913.

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