The Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus) is the powerful, most fiercesome wolf species ever walked on land. It is also called Kazakh wolf because its primary habitat occurs on the Steppes of Kazakhstan. The Kazakh wolf possesses remarkable strength for it can bring down prey nearly the size of its own. Wolves prey on grass-eating animals such as lambs, pigs, calves, and sheep. Eurasian wolves are subspecies of a grey wolf.
Physical Description and Characteristics
- The size of an adult varies with the geographic distribution. Russian wolves are greater than the Western Europe subspecies.
- The Russian wolf averages 32–50 kilograms (71–110 lb) in weight. Italian subspecies weighs 25–35 kilograms (55–77 lb). The largest Eurasian wolf ever recorded at 86 kilograms (190 lb). Wolves inhabiting Sweden and Norway are thought to be heavily built.
- The total length of the Russian wolf measures around 105–160 cm and they are 80–85 cm high at the shoulder. The body length of Italian adults is about 110–148 cm with the shoulder height measuring at 50–70 cm.
- They have quite thick fur on their bodies as compared to those possessed by North American subspecies.
- Eurasian wolves have reddish grey to off white coat.
- Unlike North American wolves, these wolves possess higher ears and the distance between the ears is comparatively lesser.
- They have legs longer than those of American wolves.
Read More: Wolf Facts for Kids
- Kazakh wolf is thought to occupy a wide range of natural habitats. The wolf’s habitat includes temperate forests, boreal forests (in Scandinavia), tundra regions (of Siberia), deciduous temperate forests, pristine lowland forests, and mountains.
- Wolves are forced to leave their native habitats because of human encroachment. Humans have killed much of the wolf’s prey. As it turns out, wolves rely also on domestic animals besides natural prey.
Feeding Ecology & Diet
- Wolves naturally hunt large animals only when the smaller prey becomes rare. Their first priority is to prey on small animals. They probably do so especially when they travel alone. However in packs, wolves seem to prefer large animals for smaller prey is not enough to feed each member of the pack.
- Eurasian wolves eat large and medium sized prey including moose, roe deer, wild boar, and red deer. They will also consume animals as large as European bison, mountain goats, mouflon, fallow deer, reindeer, and chamois. Ibex and saiga also make up the essential portion of the wolf’s diet.
- In the Scandinavia, Kazakh wolves are most likely to feed on moose and roe deer.
- The Siberian subspecies often preys on wild reindeer.
- Typical Eurasian wolf’s diet consists mainly of wild boar (70%) because boars are abundant in the temperate forests of the Caspian Sea. In the Italian subspecies’ diet the wild boar constitutes 12 to 52 %.
- In the deciduous temperate forests and lowland forests wolves probably consume roe deer. They also prey on sika deer and wild boar.
- Wolves inhabiting Bialowieza National Park (in Poland) are fortunate enough to find greater number of wild ungulates. In this park red deer is prominent among the wolf’s diet.
- In the southern Spain, they rely on wild boar and red deer for their consumption. However in the northwestern Spain Eurasian wolves do not eat wild animals; they feed on sheep, dogs, and goats instead. Sometimes they also eat carrion of horses.
- In Greece wolves readily prey on domestic livestock because the wild ungulates are extremely rare.
- In the southern Eurasia (Italy), Kazakh wolf supplements its diet with some fruits and plant material because the region is abundant in fruits. Fruits such as cherries, blueberries, apples, raspberries, plums, pears, figs, grapes, watermelon, and melon are the essential part of the wolf’s diet.
- Like other American wolves, Eurasian wolves travel in packs. Each pack consists of 4 – 5 members. In the Bialowieza Primeval Forest large packs are likely to prey on red deer.
- They are highly social. Unlike North American wolves, Eurasian wolves form smaller packs. This is probably due to their reduced territory.
Read More: Red Wolf Facts
- While the Eurasian wolf is fully protected in Sweden it has started recovering in Poland where 800 to 900 breeding pairs are present today. The recovery of wolves’ population began as early as in 1950s as a result of which more than hundred pairs occur in Sweden in Norway.
- The largest population of Kazakh wolf occurs in Romania. The country is home to around 2,500 wolves.
- The wolf’s population saw a significant increase in population since the fall of Soviet Union. At present there are 25,000 – 30,000 Eurasian wolves living in the wild.