Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs) is a well-known subspecies of the grey wolf which is native to the Arabian peninsula.
It is known as the world smallest wolf subspecies and a desert-adapted subspecies that live in small packs.
It is omnivorous, eating garbage and carrion, and also small to medium-sized prey.
|Subspecies||C. l. arabs|
Arabian wolves are small for a wolf. Its length is an average of 64 – 66 cm (25 – 26 in) at shoulder height, and the adult weighs an average of 20.41 kg (45 pounds).
The cranial span of the adult Arabian wolf measure an average of 0.659 ft (200.8 mm), which is smaller than other wolves.
Similar to the Indian wolf, it is shorter than other wolves, and this helps it to adapt to life in a dry, hot environment. It explains Bergmann’s rule, where the size of the mammal varies by the temperature of their location.
Arabian wolves don’t live in large packs but instead hunt in groups and pairs of about 3 – 4 animals.
They have a short, thin coat which is typically a greyish beige colour. The greyish beige colour is said to be a mixture of slightly buffy grey and black according to Pocock.
Similar to other canines, the Arabian wolf does not have sweat glands, and so it cools its body temperature by rapid panting, which causes evaporation from the lungs.
Occasionally the pad of the third and fourth toes are merged in the back; a trait that differentiates its tracks from a dog’s. It can be differentiated from the Indian wolf by its thinner coat, smaller size, and smaller skull.
Arabian wolves are mostly carnivorous, but also omnivorous and in some areas most dependent on human garbage and excess products.
They also prey on rodents, cats, sweet fruits, hares, rodents, small ungulates, other carrion, and roadkill.
Opportunistically almost any small animal like baby baboons, fish, and snails can be part of their diet. Arabian wolves can attack and also eat any domestic animals up to the size of a goat.
However, farmers and Bedouins will not hesitate to poison, trap, or shoot them.
Range and conservation
Arabian wolves were once found throughout the Arabian Peninsula, but now they live only in small pockets in southern Israel, southern and western Iran; Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and some part of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.
In Oman, wolf populations have increased because of the law against hunting, and they may naturally restore themselves in certain areas within the region.
In Israel, a total of 100 – 150 Arabian wolves were found across the Arava and the Negev. Both Egypt and the United Arab have a captive breeding program, and the wolf is conserved in Israel and Oman, but elsewhere, its future is still uncertain.