Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.
Species: Canis lupus (Linnaeus, 1758) - gray wolf
Subspecies: C. l. arabs (Arabian peninsula)
Pelage: Hair color variable even within populations;
|Distribution & Status||Behavior & Ecology|
Range: Widest geographic range of all land
Habitat: Generalists, found living in forest, prairie,
distributed, though eliminated from many former
CITES Appendix: Appendix II, except for
populations from Bhutan, India, Nepal, and
Pakistan where listed on Appendix I.
Population in Wild: World population estimate of approximately 200,000-250,000 individuals; unknown numbers in some
countries. Most live in the northern regions of
Canada and Russia. c. 65,000 in North America,
85% in Canada; c. 81,500 across Asia, 61% in
regions encompassed by the former U.S.S.R.
|Locomotion: Walk, trot or run on toes. Endure long
distance travel, over 72 km/day (43 mi/day).
Capable of reaching speeds of 56-64 km/hr
(35-40 mi/hr). Strong swimmers.
Activity Cycle: Active day and night; remain with
young pups during daylight hours. Travel alone late
spring to summer; pack members form nomadic
hunting groups late summer to early spring. Hunt
within a cooperatively defended territory.
Social Groups: Extremely social, forming packs
represented by a breeding pair and their offspring.
Breeding pair dominates most social interactions
and leads pack activities. All pack members
participate in territorial defense and help care for
Diet: Carnivores, feeding mainly on large mammals
such as deer, moose, caribou, and reindeer. Diet
often supplemented with smaller mammals, fruits,
and scavenged food.
Predators: Humans and other wolves.
|Reproduction & Development||Species Highlights|
|Sexual Maturity: Males and females capable of
reproduction as early as 10-22 months; social
interactions delay many from reproducing until
5-6 yrs. Regularly reproducing until age 9.
Gestation: 60-65 days.
Litter Size: Range 5-7, typically.
Birth weight: 300-500 g (11-18 oz), in captivity.
Age at Weaning: c. 5-9 weeks.
Longevity: >13 years, some wild individuals
from Alaska and Minnesota.
Feature Facts: Highly adaptable carnivores. Widely distributed across the northern hemisphere, living in forests, prairies, deserts, swamps, and tundra. Extremely social animals, they live in family packs whose members cooperatively raise pups, defend
© 2014-2019 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated October 2014. IUCN assessment updated Mar 2019. Taxonomy and population estimates updated Apr 2019.
How to cite: Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) Fact Sheet. c2014-2019. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ graywolf.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2014 Sep 15)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to email@example.com.