Eurasian Wolf

Eurasian Wolf

The Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus), also called the Middle Russian forest or common wolf, is a well-known subspecies of the grey wolf endemic to the steppe zones & forest of the former Soviet Union and Europe.

It has once occurred throughout Eurasia during the Middle Ages. It was held in high regard in Celtic, Baltic, Turkic, Slavic, Roman, ancient Greek, and Thracian.

 The Eurasian wolf is regarded as the largest of Old World grey wolves, averaging 86 lb (39 kg) in Europe, although, exceptionally large specimens have weighed between 152 to 174 lb (69 to 79 kg).

Its fur is fairly short and coarse, and has a tawny colour, with white fur on the throat. Erythrists, albinos, melanists are rare and are mostly the result of hybridisation between wolves and dogs.

The howl of the Eurasian wolf is more melodious and protracted than that of the North American grey wolves.

Table of Contents

Scientific classification

DomainEukaryota
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
Order Carnivora
FamilyCanidae
GenusCanis
SpeciesC. lupus
SubspeciesC. l. lupus

Characteristics

The Eurasian wolf has long legs, narrow feet, and slender loins. Other physical traits include its tail being thinly clothed with fur, a broader forehead, shorter ears, and a thick muzzle.

The size of Eurasian wolves varies with region, with animals in Scandinavia and Russia being bulkier and larger than those that inhabit Western Europe.

Adults from Russia measure 41 to 63 in (105 to 160 cm) in length, 31 to 33 in (80 to 85 cm) in shoulder height, and weigh on average 71 to 110 lb (32 to 50 kg), with a maximum weight of 152 to 176 lb (69 to 80 kg).

Larger weights of 203 to 212 lb (92 to 96 kg) have been reported in Ukraine. Similar in size to central Russian wolves, Norwegian and Swedish wolves tend to be more heavily built.

In Italy, a wolf’s body length, except the tail, ranges from 110 to 148 cm, while shoulder height is 50 to 70 cm. Males weigh between 55 to 77 lb (25 to 35 kg) and rarely 99 lb (45 kg).

Behaviour

The Eurasian wolf is a social animal that forms smaller packs. This is due to the decline in population in various territories. The social behaviour in Eurasian wolves varies with the region; for example, wolves inhabiting the Carpathians tend to be solitary hunters.

Reproduction

Only the alpha female and male are allowed to mate and reproduce. They mate between January – March and produce a litter containing 6 pups 7 weeks later.

The female gives birth in a den that has been dug among rocks and bushes. The male brings its kills back to the den, either by swallowing and regurgitating it or carrying it whole for the others to eat.

The mother and other members of the pack help feed the pups as they grow.

Diet

The Eurasian wolf’s diet varies enormously on their range. Many Eurasian wolf populations in areas with dense human activity are forced to survive on garbage and livestock.

Wild ungulates such as red deer, moose, wild boar, and roe deer are still the most important food sources in the mountainous regions of Eastern Europe and Russia.

Other prey species include argali, reindeer, wisent, mouflon, ibex, wisent, wild goats, chamois, musk deer, and fallow deer. They may often eat smaller prey such as hares and frogs.

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