Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf

name = Arctic Wolf
status = lc

image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Carnivora
familia = Canidae
genus = "Canis"
species = "C. lupus"
subspecies = "C. l. arctos"
trinomial = "Canis lupus arctos"
trinomial_authority = Pocock, 1935

range_map_width = 250px
range_map_caption = Arctic Wolf ranges
The Arctic Wolf ("Canis lupus arctos"), also called Polar Wolf or White Wolf, is a mammal of the Canidae family, and a subspecies of the Gray Wolf. Arctic Wolves inhabit the Canadian Arctic and the northern parts of Greenland.


"See also: Gray Wolf behavior and physiology

Arctic Wolves generally are smaller than Gray Wolves, being about convert|3|to|6|ft|m long including the tail; males are larger than females. Their shoulder heights vary from convert|25|to|31|in|cm; Arctic Wolves are bulkier than Gray Wolves, often weighing over convert|100|lb|kg. Weights of up to convert|175|lb|kg have been observed in full-grown males. Arctic Wolves usually have small ears, which help the wolf maintain body heat.

Arctic Wolves have achieved life spans of over 18 years in captivity; however, in the wild, the average lifespan is only 7–10 years.


Arctic wolves, like all wolves, hunt in packs; they mostly prey on Caribou and musk oxen, but will also kill a number of Arctic Hares, seals, ptarmigan and lemmings, as well as other smaller animals. Moose are also common prey; their long legs may render them slow and, at times, stuck, in thick snow, leaving them vulnerable to attacks by wolf packs. Due to the scarcity of grazing plants, they roam large areas to find prey up to and beyond convert|2600|km2|sqmi, and they will follow migrating caribou south during the winter. Recent footage filmed by a BBC Wildlife documentary crew shows Arctic wolves hunting waterfowl. [cite web|last=Morelle|first=Rebecca|url=|title=Elusive wolves caught on camera|publisher=BBC|date=2009-01-31|accessdate=2008-01-31]


:"See also: Gray Wolf reproductive physiology and life cycleNormally, only the alpha male and female breed, but in large packs others may mate as well. Due to the Arctic's permafrost soil and the difficulty it poses for digging dens, Arctic Wolves often use rock outcroppings, caves or even shallow depressions as dens instead; the mother gives birth to two or three pups in late May to early June, about a month later than Gray Wolves. It is generally thought that the lower number of pups compared to the average of four to five among Gray Wolves is due to the scarcity of prey in the Arctic. They give birth in about 63 days.


The Arctic Wolf is the only subspecies of the Gray Wolf that still can be found over the whole of its original range, largely because, in their natural habitat, they rarely encounter humans.


* L. David Mech (text), Jim Brandenburg (photos), "At home with the Arctic wolf", National Geographic Vol. 171 No. 5 (May 1987), pp. 562-593
* L. David Mech, "The Arctic wolf: 10 years with the pack", Voyageur Press 1997, ISBN 0-89658-353-8


External links

* [ L. David Mech: Arctic Wolves and Their Prey]
* [ White Wolf Sanctuary website]
* [ Wolf survival website]
* [ Elusive wolves caught on camera - BBC News]
* [ International Wolf Center - Artic Wolf Information]

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