Physiology

Skeletal Muscle: Wolves are superbly constructed and adapted for their particular role in an ecosystem – predators that pursue a large and small prey over different kinds of terrain like open plains, dense forest, deep snow, steep slopes and into water. Wolves have developed lean, muscular bodies set on long, powerful legs to be able to pursue prey. The wolf’s expert hunting ability comes from a combination of speed, stamina and strategy. Because wolves have narrow chests and outward – splayed forelegs, their hind legs can move in the same track as their front legs – an advantage in covering ground efficiently. Wolves’ large, well-padded feet help to spread their weight over snow and allow them to efficiently grip irregular surfaces like rocks and logs.

Reproduction: Wolves breed once a year. Their breeding season is usually January through February. The mother gives birth 63 days later, roughly in April or May, to a litter of four to eight pups, each weighing about 1 pound. The pups are born in a den, where they will stay for the first six to eight weeks of their life. When the pups are first born they cannot see, hear or maintain warmth and they need constant care from their mother. By to eight weeks of age, the pups will venture out of the den and begin their life of learning how to be a predator.

Jaw Strength: The wolf has powerful jaws, capable of exerting about 1500 pounds of pressure per square inch — or twice that of the domestic German Shepard. Wolves are accustomed to a feast and famine existence, often going many days without eating and then gorging as much as 20 pounds in a single sitting. Wolves are opportunistic hunters, meaning they will take down what they can get, which often happens to be the weak, sick, old and very young.

Smell: Even more extraordinary is a wolf’s sense of smell – up to 100 times greater than human beings’. Under the right conditions a wolf can smell something up to 300 yards to 1 mile away.

Hearing: Their hearing is excellent also. Under certain conditions, wolves can hear a howl as far as six miles away in the forest and ten miles away on the open tundra.