The wolf has always been looked up as a creature of beauty and enigma and is therefore worthy of respect and curiosity. Based on the social organization, both of us live based on strong family ties. We pick our packs’ members who have the strong ability to care for our families. And rituals build relationships, maintain order, and enforce discipline in both wolves and man. However, wolves are still in the wild and man has moved away, but some of us are still searching for what we once had. Today, we will continue the curious year in the life of a wolf. If you’re not caught up, please check “A Year in the Life of a Wolf: January to April".
The alpha female, now the dominant wolf in the pack until the pups are as old as they can travel, sometimes wants to switch to a new den once the young are a few months old. The pups are playing a lot at this point. We are a persistent nuisance for adult pack members, displaying a remarkably high resistance for rough-housing pups. Early wrestling competitions between litter mates also show signs of hierarchical leadership, with the top pup showing dominance by standing over a defeated sibling in a stern pose with erect tail. Pack members will be stationed at both sites during the move to a new den site to protect the offspring until the transfer is complete.
Depending on the availability of meat, wolf packing territories range from 20 to 150 square miles. The alpha male marks the territory of the pack by urinating along the perimeter on tree stumps and other identifiable items. Such scent stations are regularly tested and freshened when the pack rounds along its territory boundary. Although it rarely happens, there will be a violent defensive assault on a loner wolf or other wolf pack that breaches the territory of the resident pack. “Buffer zones” divide territories between wolf packs that are not routinely patrolled or protected. Not unexpectedly, in these buffer zones, prey animals gather.
Things are settling among the pack with social structure being established and each member in the hierarchy has a certain rank. Under the alpha male is a beta male who controls all other males. Over all other females and most males, the alpha female is dominant. Through an ordered array of actions, this highly organized system is retained. With tail up, eyes forward, and mouth open, the dominant wolf approaches a subordinate. The lower-ranking wolf may lower his tail or tuck it between his thighs, lay back his head, and may even lie down, revealing the more dominant wolf to his belly. The lowest ranking wolf in a pack is an “outcast.” Remaining on the outskirts of the pack, on the scraps left by the rest of the pack, it is forced to survive.
Wolves can be the most adaptable of all species next to humans. In almost any area, wolves can live; some are found for deserts or tropical forests. Wolves will survive and thrive almost anywhere, provided enough space to wander and enough prey numbers. A keen sense of smell, good hearing and good vision combine to make the wolf an effective hunter in almost any habitat type. Wolves rely more on their sense of smell to locate prey in heavily forested areas where visibility is poor. Wolves sit for hours on top of ridges in mountainous areas waiting for prey to pass below them.
Our next article will cover September to December. Be sure to follow this article and discover this wonderful way of life. As always, howl to the moon and reach for the stars.
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