Red Wolf Facts | Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior, Reproduction

The red wolf (Canis rufus) is a native mammal of the eastern United States. The physical appearance of red wolf is nearly the same as that of gray wolf or coyote. Currently they are facing some real threats in the wild. IUCN Red List has classified red wolf as critically endangered species for the animal is driven to extinction mainly by humans. Red wolf is extinct in the wild.

Red Wolf Facts


  • The adult wolves average 136–160 cm (53.5–63 in) in head-body length with the weight measuring about 23–39 kg (50-85 lbs).
  • They are about 26 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • It has a typical wolf’s coat showing the usual reddish tawny color. The fur is greyish to tawny with some markings on it.
  • The ears of red wolf are larger than that of either coyotes or gray wolves.
  • Males are larger than the females.

Distribution & Habitat

  • The red wolf once occupied much of the southeastern United States ranging from Atlantic and Gulf Coasts to as far as central Pennsylvania and Ohio River Valley including southeastern Missouri and central Texas.
  • Studies however show that red wolves could have also lived in the St. Lawrence River, Canada and Illinois.
  • They are thought to make dens in hollow trees or along the stream banks. Other habitats include deep burrows, canal banks or dense vegetation dens.
red wolf facts
Red Wolf ©


  • Red wolves are far more sociable than coyotes but less gregarious as compared to gray wolves.
  • They are most likely to be active during dawn or dusk. However they are nocturnal animals—typically active at night. Red wolves are often found in discrete packs.
  • Adult males mark the territory and home range.
  • They are thought to communicate not only by ‘howling’ but also by using different body postures.

Feeding Ecology & Diet

  • In the wild, red wolves used to prey on wild rabbits and rodents. They could also hunt down white-tailed deer, coypu and raccoon.
  • The wolf supplements its diet with some insects and berries.

Reproductive Biology

  • The mating occurs in the months of January to March.
  • A female gives birth to 6 – 7 pups after a gestation period of 60 – 63 days. These are born in March to May.
  • Both parents will contribute toward rearing the pups.
  • After 45 days, the young will leave the den. They attain the maximum length at one year age.
  • It takes them 2 years to become mature.
  • The average lifespan of red wolf is 6 – 7 years in the wild. The captive animal may live up to 15 years.

Conservation Status

Critically Endangered

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