Arctic wolf

He is a wild animal

Origin
North America
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
The possession of this animal is not authorized Royal Decree establishing the list of mammals not kept for production purposes that may be kept (M.B. 24.08.2009)
The Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos) is a subspecies of the Canidae family, of the species Canis lupus, which includes wolves and dogs. The Arctic wolf inhabits the northern part of North America. The equivalent eastern subspecies is the Siberian Wolf (Canis lupus albus).

The Arctic wolf is smaller than other wolf species: an adult can measure 90 cm in length, plus a 30 cm tail. Height at the withers ranges from 65 to 80 cm. Heavier than the gray wolf, it weighs an average of 45 kg, but adults have been recorded weighing up to 80 kg. Its white fleece is thicker than that of other wolves. Its nose is smaller and rounder, its muscles and ears smaller, and its legs shorter to reduce exposure to the cold. Its jaws are powerful, and sharp teeth with long canines enable it to tear meat apart. Their remarkable eyesight, hearing and sense of smell make them excellent hunters.

Arctic wolves live in northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, between 70 and 75 degrees north latitude. The land is covered in snow and ice year-round, and temperatures can drop to -60°C in winter. Human activity is very limited, and the Arctic wolf has very little contact with man, so it is not hunted and always lives in its native habitat.

Wolves mostly hunt lemmings and hares alone, while larger animals such as caribou and muskoxen are preyed upon in packs. They usually kill their prey by biting them on the neck. They leave nothing of their prey behind, devouring everything down to the skin, hair and bones.

Wolves are sociable animals, living mainly in packs headed by an alpha male and an alpha female. This hierarchy, observed in all wolf species, determines the order in which feeding and reproduction take place. Only the alpha male and alpha female are allowed to reproduce. But in a freezing climate, raising cubs is very difficult. The alpha female only raises her cubs in spring and summer. The permafrost and the rigors of the cold climate make it very difficult to dig the former or find the latter. Arctic wolves mate only once a year, and the mother gives birth to 2 to 3 cubs, usually in May or June, after a two-month gestation period. This is considerably fewer than other wolf species (5 to 6 cubs). As food is scarce, the group must not become too large.

Cubs are born blind, deaf and completely helpless. They depend on the alpha female, who in turn depends on the alpha male for food. As soon as the cubs reach one month of age, they are able to eat meat. Then the whole pack takes care of their food.

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