Denali Park Wolves

The members of this family are all dog-like in appearance. They have 5 toes on the front feet (one toe is high) and 4 on the back feet. All members of this family have a scent gland at the base of the tail.

Wolf
Click photo by Kirsty Knittel, www.NaturalAlaska.net

Wolves are highly social animals and typically live in packs which include the parents and the pups of the year, yearlings and other adults

The color of wolves varies tremendously between white and black with many variations of tan or gray. Adult males generally weight between 85 – 115 pounds. Females are typically 5 to 10 pounds lighter. A dominance hierarchy is established with separate rank orders between males and females.

Pack size is usually 6 to 12 but sometimes it may be as high as 20 to 30 members. Each pack maintains a home range in which other packs are usually kept out, but there may be some overlap. Wolf density varies greatly in Alaska from1 per 25 square mile in the southeast to 150 square miles or less in the interior. The home range of a wolf pack in Alaska is between 200 and 600 square miles.

Breeding occurs in February and March and pups are born in May or early June. Litter size is about 5 pups but I can range from 2 – 10 pups. The female gives birth to the pups in an excavated den they may go back as much as 10 feet. Other members of the pack bring food back to the den for the mother and the pups. As the pups get older, other members of the pack will watch over the young while the mother hunts for herself. The pups are weaned by mid-summer and by early winter, they can travel with the pack throughout the home range.

Wolves are carnivorous and in most of Alaska, moose and caribou make up a large portion of their diet. Other important prey animals include Dall sheep and smaller mammals depending upon availability. The very young, diseased and very old prey animas are most commonly taken by wolves.

Alaskan Wildlife can be seen in Denali National Park. Kantishna Wilderness Trails provides Alaska Wildlife Day Tours while Kantishna Roadhouse offers Denali Wilderness lodging and accommodations for Alaska Travel and Alaska Vacations deep into Denali National Park.

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