The gray wolf or Canis Lupus most likely originated in Asia. About 200,000 years ago when the Pleistocene land bridge connected they most likely crossed into North America today. All dogs we own as pets today have been domesticated from the wolf but when and where it occurred is the controversy. Geneticist estimate that dogs and wolves may have parted about 40,000 years ago and that about 20,000 years ago the dogs migrated through out Europe from Asia. Archeologists have discovered canine fossils in Europe from 5,000 to 7,000 years ago. Vocalization play a major role in the society of the wolf to social behaviors, reproductive, and foraging.
Today the wolf can be found through Eurasia & North America and is the most spread out land predator that can adapt to live in a variety of habitats. Wolves in North America & Europe have been studied much more then those in Asia. One thing that makes a wolf stand out from other animals is there long range howl that can be heard from miles away to find members of there pack or to warn enemies to stay away from there territory. Along with there harmonic howling a wolf can produce about 10 sounds that create a vibration of vocal folds in the larynx which cause different frequencies to produce aggressive or passive messages. Similar to there domestic counterparts, they can yelp, whine, or whimper when frightened or to show passive behavior and growl or bark when trying to display aggression.
The habitat of the wolf may vary from forests, mountains, tundra, semi deserts, and open basins or grasslands. Their known as the apex predator where they reside and play a crucial part of the ecosystem. Though once nearly hunted ti extinction they have made a healthy comeback to in central Europe and North America. In Anatolia where livestock is a large production and wild food is scarce farmers use guard dogs such as Shepards to protect the livestock from the wolves that prey on them. A research showed they prefer to hunt wildlife then go through the trouble of killing livestock even in highly populated communities. Wolves range from 50 to 150 lbs and live on average of 6-8 years in the wild and up to 15 in captivity. They live in groups known as packs of ranging from 5 to 10 individuals. Wolves have once again became a least concern in the endangered species list and are protected in most national parks they live in.
A pack of wolves can travel over 20 miles a day in search for food and will eat almost anything they can catch or find. In one sitting an the carnivorous animal can eat over 20 pounds of meat in a kill at once and will also eat birds, coyotes, small reptiles, and fruits. Living in a structured society with a dominant male and female known as the Alpha pair and are the only two in the pack that breed while the rest of the adult members help to raise the pups. These widespread land mammals can go over a week without food and have a diverse coat color range from grizzly to light grays, reds, all black or pure white. They typically stand 28-32 inches at the shoulder line and have 5 toes on the front paws and 4 toes on the hind feet. Wolves have webbed feet and are excellent swimmers because of there incredible stamina in Canada they have been known to swim between islands to eat crabs and fish over 10 miles at a time. They are generally monogamists meaning they mate for life.
An average litter consists of 4 to 10 pups and mating season usually begins in January and ends around April. The female alpha digs a den to birth her pups and remain there for weeks after birth. The gestation period is 60 to 63 days and they go in heat once a year from 5 to 14 days. All members of the pack regurgitate food for the pups until they are 45 days old and live inside the den until they are 8 weeks old. A female wolf reaches full maturity in 2 years though males tend to take up to 3 years. Wolves are born deaf and blind and just over a pound. They have blue eyes when they first open at 2 weeks of age. Large packs of wolves prefer to take down prey many times there own size such as bison, moose, or musk oxen by chasing them down and wearing the exhausted giants down but will generally eat anything they can catch even rabbits or beavers though this meal will only be enough to sustain a lone wolf.