Here are some of the most interesting Arctic wolf facts such as Arctic wolf habitat, diet, reproduction, and its behavior in the wild.
The arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also known as white wolf or polar wolf, is a subspecies of the gray wolf that belongs to the family of Canidae. Arctic wolves inhabit all along the Alaska, northern areas of Greenland, and Canadian Arctic.
These animals, gray wolf, also display large canines together with the white fur. The legs of the arctic wolf are shorter to keep them closer to the ground so that they can manage their body temperature.
Arctic wolves are classified as Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Now let’s check out all these amazing facts about arctic wolves.
Arctic Wolf Facts
- The length of the arctic wolf measures around 1 – 1.8 meters including tail, with the weight up to 45 – 70 kg.
- Thanks to the detailed insulated fur, the arctic wolf is capable to bear tough arctic weather. They are adept enough to withstand sub-zero temperatures for several years, even in absolute darkness for 4 – 5 months each year, and without food for many weeks.
- Arctic wolves typically venture their journey in 2 – 20 packs. They are found in small groups comprising one male and one female together with their pups.
- All the members of the same pack are presumed to feed and look after their pups.
- The young arctic wolves soon leave their pack to seek their own territories. They tend to get rid of other wolves, unless they are able to mate.
- Once a lone arctic wolf discovers an abandoned territory, he will mark the territory with its aroma, then he attempts to congregate other wolves to form a pack.
- The female when pregnant, dispense with the pack in order to dig a den for raising her pups.
- The average lifespan of arctic wolves is 7 – 10 years in the wild while in captivity they can live up to 20 years.
- Arctic wolves tend to cover with the additional layer of coat with the arrival of winter season to keep them warm. The white coat not only keeps them warm but it also offers a natural camouflage to these animals against predators, if any. Thanks to the coat, wolves can enjoy sound sleep even below 20 degree centigrade.
- The males are fairly larger and heavier as compared to females, with the weight of 175 lbs. The body-length of these males vary from 3 – 5 feet.
- The shoulder height of arctic wolves measure around 65 – 80 cm.
- Wolves are the excellent swimmers.
- The males turn out to be mature after 3 years while the females reach maturity at 2 years of age.
Feeding Ecology and Diet
- Arctic wolves, like other wolves, tend to hunt in packs comprising 2 – 20 members. They primarily prey on muskoxen and caribous.
- These wolves also prey on seals, arctic hares, lemmings, waterfowls, ptarmigan, and smaller animals. For the reason that prey is not easily found in heavy snow, they had to roam around 2,600 sq. km (1,000 sq. miles) while chasing caribou south in the winter.
- Arctic wolves are not swift runners; however, they often outrun their prey in the long run through their stamina.
- Arctic wolf has 42 teeth which is the only weapon to take down their prey. They are known to consume large chunks without chewing it.
- These wolves are also capable to eat the bones and thus leaving nothing behind. Wolves typically consume 20 pounds (9 kg) of meat in a single meal. On their return from the hunt, wolves regurgitate some of the food with them for their hungry pups.
Distribution and Habitat
- Arctic wolf is the inhabitant of Canadian arctic, northern areas of Greenland, and are known occupy some parts of Alaska. These wolves bear a range of its habitat 70° North latitude and higher. They are believed to have appeared in North America some two million years before.
- Whenever arctic wolves find a den, they make one or two chambers for raising young and for food. Arctic wolves can be found in the original range of their habitats as there are no real threats from humans.
- Because of the fact that they have tough and remote habitats, a handful of scientists have successfully ventured while going through the long dark winter.
- Some of these species can be found in northern Alberta in the Wood Buffalo National Park, or at 60 degree latitude of Canada. One of these wolves is also sighted as far south as northern Minnesota.
- Arctic wolves often disperse straight-line distances of more than 550 miles. Most, if not all, arctic wolves are white. Consequently, not many facts have come to the fore.
- The female arctic wolves are often engaged in digging hard snow for making den to ensure a safer place for her cubs to breed for food.
- However, when she finds difficult to dig it, she begins to search some caves or rock outcroppings or even shallow depressions for employing them as a wolf’s den. The gestation period lasts for 63 – 75 days.
- The young are usually born in months of May to the early June. The female litters 2 – 3 pups, with the maximum littering is recorded at 12 pups.
- Gray wolves lay four to five pups in contrast to their counterparts. Scientists argue that the lower numbers of pups are possibly due to the scarcity of a prey in the Arctic.
- Pups are blind and deaf soon after their birth, with the weight measuring at one pound.
- The mother will usually look after these pups and when these juveniles become 5 weeks older, they are allowed outside the den. However, other members of the same pack also take care of the pups until the return of the mother.