26 Facts About Gray wolves

1. Wolf attacks on humans are rare because Gray wolves are relatively few, live away from people, and have developed a fear of humans because of their experiences with hunters, ranchers, and shepherds.

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2. Studies using paleogenomic techniques reveal that the modern wolf and the dog are sister taxa, as modern Gray wolves are not closely related to the population of Gray wolves that was first domesticated.

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3. In more recent times, some male Italian Gray wolves originated from dog ancestry, which indicates female Gray wolves will breed with male dogs in the wild.

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4. Habitat use by Gray wolves depends on the abundance of prey, snow conditions, livestock densities, road densities, human presence and topography.

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5. The variation in diet between Gray wolves living on different continents is based on the variety of hoofed mammals and of available smaller and domesticated prey.

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6. In Europe, Gray wolves eat apples, pears, figs, melons, berries and cherries.

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7. Prey in North America continue to occupy suitable habitats with low human density, the Gray wolves eating livestock and garbage only in dire circumstances.

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8. Aggressive or self-assertive Gray wolves are characterized by their slow and deliberate movements, high body posture and raised hackles, while submissive ones carry their bodies low, flatten their fur, and lower their ears and tail.

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9. The age of first breeding in Gray wolves depends largely on environmental factors: when food is plentiful, or when wolf populations are heavily managed, Gray wolves can rear pups at younger ages to better exploit abundant resources.

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10. The size of a wolf hunting pack is related to the number of pups that survived the previous winter, adult survival, and the rate of dispersing Gray wolves leaving the pack.

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11. Once prey is brought down, Gray wolves begin to feed excitedly, ripping and tugging at the carcass in all directions, and bolting down large chunks of it.

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12. Viral diseases carried by Gray wolves include: rabies, canine distemper, canine parvovirus, infectious canine hepatitis, papillomatosis, and canine coronavirus.

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13. Bacterial diseases carried by Gray wolves include: brucellosis, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, tularemia, bovine tuberculosis, listeriosis and anthrax.

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14. Parasitic infection in Gray wolves is of particular concern to people.

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15. Endoparasites known to infect Gray wolves include: protozoans and helminths.

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16. Some Gray wolves carry Neospora caninum, which can be spread to cattle and is correlated with bovine miscarriages.

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17. In Mexico and parts of the southwestern United States, the Mexican and US governments collaborated from 1977 to 1980 in capturing all Mexican Gray wolves remaining in the wild to prevent their extinction and established captive breeding programs for reintroduction.

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18. In Tantric Buddhism, Gray wolves are depicted as inhabitants of graveyards and destroyers of corpses.

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19. The Dena'ina believed Gray wolves were once men and viewed them as brothers.

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20. Tolstoy's War and Peace and Chekhov's Peasants both feature scenes in which Gray wolves are hunted with hounds and Borzois.

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21. The victims are repeatedly bitten on the head and face, and are then dragged off and consumed unless the Gray wolves are driven off.

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22. Cases of rabid Gray wolves are low when compared to other species, as Gray wolves do not serve as primary reservoirs of the disease, but can be infected by animals such as dogs, jackals and foxes.

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23. Incidents of rabies in Gray wolves are very rare in North America, though numerous in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Asia.

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24. Bites from rabid Gray wolves are 15 times more dangerous than those of rabid dogs.

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25. Unlike with predatory attacks, the victims of rabid Gray wolves are not eaten, and the attacks generally occur only on a single day.

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26. In Kazakhstan and Mongolia, Gray wolves are traditionally hunted with eagles and falcons, though this practice is declining, as experienced falconers are becoming few in number.

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