Monday, February 21, 2011

Facts About Wolves - strangefacts

  • The average litter of Mexican wolves is between four and seven pups
  • Due to hunting, Tasmanian devils neared extinction at the beginning of the 20th century. Tasmanian wolves (also called tigers) became extinct in 1936. Today Tasmanian devils are endangered by a cancer called Devil Facial Tumor Disease
  • All dogs, from the German Shepherd to the tiny Poodle, are direct descendants of wolves. They can all breed together and produce fertile offspring
  • Coyotes can breed with domestic dogs and wolves and the Ethiopian wolf lives above 10,000 feet elevation
  • Donkeys have a natural and aggressive dislike of coyotes, wolves and other canines (including domestic dogs)
  • Biologists have found that wolves will respond to humans imitating their howls. The International Wolf Center in Minnesota even sponsors “howl nights” on which people can howl in the wilderness and hope for an answering howlWolves may use the same dens to raise their cubs year after year and wolves, bears, apes use urinate to claim territory
  • Wolves do not make good guard dogs because they are naturally afraid of the unfamiliar and will hide from visitors rather than bark at them
  • Wolves run on their toes, which helps them to stop and turn quickly and to prevent their paw pads from wearing down
  • Wolves have about 200 million scent cells. Humans have only about 5 million. Wolves can smell other animals more than one mile (1.6 kilometers) away
  • A male and female that mate usually stay together for life. They are devoted parents and maintain sophisticated family ties
  • Wolves were once the most widely distributed land predator the world has ever seen. The only places they didn’t thrive were in the true desert and rainforests
  • Among true wolves, two species are recognized: Canis lupus (often known simply as “gray wolves”), which includes 38 subspecies, such as the gray, timber, artic, tundra, lobos, and buffalo wolves
  • The other recognized species is the red wolf (Canis rufus), which are smaller and have longer legs and shorter fur than their relatives. Many scientists debate whether Canis rufus is a separate species
  • A hungry wolf can eat 20 pounds of meat in a single meal, which is akin to a human eating one hundred hamburgers
  • Wolves evolved from an ancient animal called Mesocyon, which lived approximately 35 million years ago. It was a small dog-like creature with short legs and a long body. Like the wolf, it may have lived in packs
  • Wolves can swim distances of up to 8 miles (13 kilometers) aided by small webs between their toes
  • Recent scientists suggest that labeling a wolf “alpha” or “omega” is misleading because “alpha” wolves are simply parent wolves. Using “alpha” terminology falsely suggests a rigidly forced permanent social structure
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