How much do you know about the much adored yet mysterious wolf? Wolves continue to spark heated debate each time they are bought up, yet it appears there is a new and interesting fact discovered about them every other day. Simply put, there is definitely more than what meets the eye when it comes to these impressive creatures.
Below are five fascinating facts about the wolf that are bound to blow your mind:
1.They are relatively inefficient hunters This explains wolves nature to hunt in packs, as opposed to solo hunting. Apparently, a wolf scores a success rate of a mere 6% when it comes to hunting. This essentially means that each and every wolf in a pack has to pull its weight when it comes to hunting, otherwise the pack can be unsuccessful. What is more, wolves are naturally adapted to hunt for large prey. Wolves also tend to eat approximately 1/5th of their average body weight. This is because they have to make up for skipped meals as food supply can be irregular. Additionally, whenever a pack successfully hunts down prey, the alpha pair is always the first to eat.
2. Cannibalism You will be surprised to learn that one of the leading causes of death for wolves in the wild is, in fact, other wolves. Wolves occasionally kill each other for various reasons. For instance, a wolf that is considered to be lazy in a pack when it comes to hunting may be killed by the rest of the pack. Wolves are also considered opportunistic predators, and can hence feed on sick or injured pack members. Cannibalism is quite rampant in packs. In fact, fights between two packs are often fatal, with the alpha males being the fatalities most of the time.
3. How to become an alpha The process of becoming an alpha(also known as a breeder) is quite unique. Unlike other carnivores that basically fight their way to the top, wolves simply choose a mate, create offspring and consequently form a pack of their own. All wolves are basically at liberty to form a pack provided they find a mate. Additionally, most times only the alpha pair will mate and have puppies, despite the fact that the other females can also get puppies. This is so that the number of cabs a pack can care for is limited and controlled. An interesting fact about wolf puppies is that they are born both deaf and blind.
4. Extensively hunted Sadly, wolves are extensively hunted in some parts of the world. In 1915, the U.S government created a wolf eradication program, thus legalizing the killing of wolves. This almost led to wolves becoming extinct and up to date, they continue to be most hunted creatures in some areas, such as North America. Despite the fact that poaching is now illegal in the U.S, the illegal killing of wolves is still rather common.
5. Eating prey alive Most of us think that wolves are clean hunters, which is far from the truth. The killing process for a wolf basically involves tearing the prey apart. Oftentimes, wolves will start by tearing apart the hind legs of prey to immobilize it. However, for the pack to start feasting, all that is required is that the prey is still enough (immobile) but not necessarily dead. Wolves will hardly if ever make an apparent move to kill their prey, so long as it cannot escape, they will begin to eat it. It has been said that a wolves first concern is its stomach.
In conclusion, it is clear that the wolf is quite a diverse animal, and there is definitely more to it than what pop culture has made most of us believe.