What animals do wolves come from

Species profile: The wolf

Recovery thanks to strict protection

Wolves are very adaptable and inhabit a wide variety of areas, from the arctic tundras to the deserts of North America and Central Asia. The wolf was once one of the most widespread mammal species in the world.


  • Wolf - Photo: Christoph Bosch

  • Wolf on the Munster Nord military training area - Photo: J├╝rgen Borris

Wolves howling in chorus


distribution and habitat
Wolves are very adaptable and inhabit a wide variety of areas, from the arctic tundras to the deserts of North America and Central Asia. Most wolves, however, live in grasslands or forests. The wolf was once one of the most widespread mammal species in the world. Today it has completely disappeared from many regions, including large parts of Europe. Thanks to strict protection, the population has only been slowly recovering for about 30 years.

description
The European wolf is 70 to 90 centimeters tall (shoulder height) and up to 140 centimeters long. Visually, it resembles a large domestic dog. However, wolves are long-legged and the back line is straight, while in the dog it slopes down towards the tail. In addition, the tail is straight and bushy. Wolves have smaller ears that are also densely hairy on the inside. Males tend to be larger and heavier than females. The fur of European wolves varies from yellowish-gray, through gray-brown to dark gray. The underside of the muzzle and the throat are lighter, the backs of the ears are reddish. The fur on the back often has a black saddle mark. The tip of the tail and the front of the legs are also often black.



How big can a wolf get and how fast can it run? All the answers at a glance. - Graphics: greeneducation4all / Stefanie Gendera

nutrition
As a large carnivore, its prey is mainly roe deer, red deer and wild boar. But also smaller animals are on the menu. The wolf mainly hunts older, sick or young animals because they are easy prey. The wolf takes on an important role in the ecosystem because it controls the populations, especially of medium-sized ungulates. If farm animals such as sheep or goats are not adequately protected, the wolf can also prey here. Protective fences and herd protection animals help here.


Wolf tracks in the sand - Photo: Markus Bathen

Reproduction
Young wolves are usually sexually mature at 22 months. After the mating season between February and March, after a gestation period of nine weeks in April or May, between four and six pups are usually born in a cave. Then the wolves live together as a family (the so-called wolf pack). The boys from the previous year help the parents raise their younger siblings. After two to three years they leave the pack and look for a partner. In doing so, they cover up to 1000 kilometers.

Danger
The wolf in Germany is mostly endangered by the fragmentation of its habitat and traffic. Individual animals are also shot down illegally.


National protection status
Federal Nature Conservation Act / Federal Species Protection Ordinance: strictly protected species. Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive, Appendix II and Appendix IV: strictly protected species, the designation of protected areas is necessary.

International protection status
Bern Convention, Appendix II: strictly protected Art


Current distribution in Germany

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