Unlike domestic dogs, wolves have yet to acclimate to humans. But, conservationist Phillip Elden says that’s okay. Wolves are one of his favorite animals, and one he believes deserves everyone’s attention and respect. Keep reading as the Oregon native answers a few questions about this colossal canine.
Q: How many different types of wolves are there?
Phillip Elden: There are two known species of wolves in the world. However, there are many subspecies, and it can be difficult to differentiate one from another. Many scientists believe that there are even more wolves tucked away in remote regions and that some may be misclassified as jackals or other canine-like mammals.
Q: What is the difference between a gray wolf and a red wolf?
Phillip Elden: Gray wolves are large and are what you typically think of when you think of a wolf. A red wolf is closer to the size of a coyote and may be brown with a reddish tint.
Q: What is a wolf pack?
Phillip Elden: Wolves are social animals and live in family units called packs. A wolf pack will consist of an alpha, a male wolf who acts as a leader, his mate, and their offspring. It is not unusual to find non-related wolves living together, however. Wolves live in den or caves and both males and females hunt for food for the cubs of the family. There are usually no more than 20 wolves in a pack, but most are much smaller. Pack size changes as cubs grow to adulthood and begin having offspring of their own.
Q: What do wolves eat?
Phillip Elden: Wolves are meat eaters and skilled hunters. They work together to take down large mammals, such as moose, caribou, and deer. A single wolf can easily overcome a smaller animal, such as a beaver or opossum. If given the opportunity, wolves will gladly prey upon domestic livestock. Interestingly, wolves may also eat fruits or vegetables, but this is not considered a substantial part of their diet.