wolves

wolfiethewerewolf  asked:

Could you help me with my speech on wolves? I'm doing the differences between how a wolf communicates and behaves vs how a dog communicates and behaves. I already know some like: Dogs bark and wolves really don't, body language isn't always the same, dogs love attention and wolves do but need some room to breath, but are there any others that most people wouldn't think were so different? Thank you!

Sure, we’ll help the best we can!

Going down your list, it’s worth noting that wolves do actually bark! However, it’s not very common and it doesn’t sound much like barking in dogs. Barking in wolves is an alarm signal–it means something is really wrong. An example of when our staff heard barking in our wolves was when a wolf was anesthetized for a medical procedure and carried out on a stretcher. Apparently, some wolves saw it and became alarmed enough to bark. Another intern once experience wild wolves barking while doing den checks–the wolves barked when the humans got too close to the dens.

Dog and wolf body language is quite similar as they are very closely related. They really perform a lot of the same behaviors but wolves are more intense. Basically, dogs showcase the same behaviors as wolves, but through selective breeding they sometimes show behaviors a little differently. For example, both wolves and dogs will lick at another’s mouth. In wolves, pups do this to stimulate adult wolves to regurgitate food for them to eat. It’s also used as part of appeasement gestures, and even in greeting. Dogs, especially puppies, will also lick at another dog’s mouth but they aren’t going to regurgitate food for each other. Honestly, a lot of dogs just seem to find it obnoxious. And some wolves too for that matter. Bicho excessively licks at his brother Kanti’s mouth as a part of “obnoxious submission” AKA being so annoying that his more dominant brother gets irritated enough to walk away and leave him alone. In general though, dog and wolf behavior is incredibly similar, even indistinguishable. Our dogs do a lot of what wolves do!

Ayla asking for a belly rub…

…compared to my dog asking for a belly rub. Pretty universal.

Another difference between dogs and wolves, though this is more biological than behavioral, is that female wolves only come into heat once per year, while female dogs come into heat twice per year. Wolves are only born in the spring. Even males are only fertile during the breeding season. Compare this to dogs–if you’ve ever been to an animal shelter or pet store, you know for a fact they have puppies constantly. Just an interesting tidbit.

The last part of your question is hard to answer because every animal is different! Some wolves love attention and some don’t. Some dogs love attention and some don’t. But in general, yes, wolves do need more space. It’s important to remember that dogs are domesticated–they’ve been bred for tens of thousands of years to live along side us. Wolves, no matter how tame they are, are not domesticated. They’re wild animals that allow us into their space. Our wolves like attention from humans they know (especially those that helped raise them) because they were heavily socialized from their first weeks of life. Some of our wolves are very social with everyone, including strangers, researchers, interns, etc. Other wolves have a small social circle and it takes a lot of work to be a part of it. Wolves are very relationship based. Our park photographer can get away with just about anything with our wolves, because he has spent their whole lives building a positive relationship with them (we’re also convinced he’s part wolf too…). Also, long term visitors (volunteers, interns, sponsors) will have a much different experience than someone meeting a wolf for the first time. Our wolves remember who you are and how you act around them.

Photo courtesy of Monty Sloan. Dharma was an incredibly social wolf with people. One of her quirks is that she would ask for her inner thigh to be scratched by putting her back leg on you. During this visit, while she asked an intern in the back to scratch her leg, she licked another intern in front of her. During this visit, Dharma was so happy about having visitors she peed out of excitement. This is just an example of how sociability varies with individuals.

There’s a lot to go over about canine behavior so if you have more specific questions, feel free to message us! Also our website and the IWC website for a little more info:

http://wolfpark.org/animals/info/wolves/

http://www.wolf.org/wolf-info/basic-wolf-info/biology-and-behavior/

Storks

It’s awesome! As soon as you get past the so-in-your-face-it-can-break-your-jaw style of humour, it’s super-charming. But you’re here to hear what I think about the wolves in it. Well, you’ll be relieved to hear that they were FANTASTIC! Absolutely hilarious and adorable from beginning to end, falling in love with the baby at the start of the story and doing everything they can to reunite with the little tyke. The wolves never crossed over into a true antagonist’s role, and indeed are just… a beautiful reminder that wolf characters are changing for the better. I highly recommend Storks!

‘If ever there was a perfect wolf,’ Rick says, 'It was Twenty-one. He was like a fictional character. But he was real.’
 
Even from a distance, Twenty-one’s big-shouldered profile was recognizable. Utterly fearless in defense of his family, Twenty-one had the size, strength, and agility to win against overwhelming odds. 'On two occasions, I saw Twenty-one take on six attacking wolves–and rout them all,’ Rick says.
 
Twenty-one distinguished himself doubly. He never lost a fight. And he never killed any defeated opponent.
 
Twenty-one came into the world in the first litter of pups born in Yellowstone in nearly seventy years. His parents had both been trapped in Canada and shipped to Yellowstone specifically to reintroduce wolves into a system that had gotten out of balance, with too many elk, after almost seventy years without wolves, for the land to bear. But even though wolves had bene absent longer than most people could remember, just before Twenty-one was born, someone shot his father.
 
A wolf does not do well as a single mother. Researches reluctantly decided to capture her and her pups and feed them for a few months in a one-acre pen. When humans brought food to the pen, all the other wolves fled to the opposite fence, but one pup would pace a little rise int he enclosure, putting himself between the humans and the rest of his family. This pup would later be given the tracking collar number 21.
 
At age two and a half, Twenty-one left his mother–and an adoptive father–and his birth pack. Twenty-one waltzed into the family known as the Druid Peak pack less than two days after the Druids’ alpha male had also been illegally shot. The Druid females welcomed this prime male wolf; their pups loved the big new guy. He adopted the pups and helped feed them. With no hassle at all, Twenty-one had left home and immediately become the alpha male of an established pack.
 
Twenty-one was 'remarkably gentle’ with the members of his pack, Rick says. Immediately after making a kill, he would often walk away to urinate or lie down and nap, allowing family members who’d had nothing to do with the hunt to eat their fill.
 
One of Twenty-one’s favorite things was to wrestle with little pups. 'And what he really loved to do,’ Rick adds, 'was to pretend to lose. He just got a *huge* kick out of it.’
 
Here was this great big male wolf. And he’d let some little wolf jump on him and bite his fur. 'He’d just fall on his back, paws in the air,’ Rick half-mimes. 'And the triumphant-looking little one would be standing over him with his tail wagging.
 
'The ability to pretend,’ Rick adds, 'shows that you understand how your actions are perceived by others. It indicates high intelligence. I’m sure the pups knew what was going on, but it was a way for them to learn how it feels to conquer something much bigger than you. And that kind of confidence is what wolves need every day of their hunting lives.’
—  Carl Safina, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel