Meet our timber wolves! These siblings (two brothers and a sister) joined the zoo on November 5, 2015. They were born on April 1st, 2011. The lightest male is Malakai, the gray male is Smokey, and the darkest and smallest wolf is Luna, our female. They came to Wildwood Zoo from the Wild World of Animals in Pennsylvania. The Wild World of Animals is a well-known and respected animal education and training company.
The term “Gray” wolf and “Timber” wolf can be used interchangeably. The wolf is the largest member of the canine family. As the ancestor of the domestic dog, the Gray wolf resembles German shepherds or malamutes. Gray wolves have long bushy tails that are often black-tipped. Coat color is typically a mix of gray and brown with buffy facial markings and undersides, but the color can vary from solid white to brown, black, or grizzled gray. Wolves vary in size depending on where they live. Wolves in the north are usually larger than those in the south. The average size of a wolf's body is 3-5 feet long. Their tails are usually 1-2 feet long. Females typically weigh 60-100 pounds, and males weigh 70-145 pounds. Unlike what many people believe, wolves really have little impact on the deer herd in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin DNR, each wolf kills about 18 deer per year for a total of about 16,000 deer for the entire wolf population. Over 40,000 deer in Wisconsin are killed by cars each year, and 450,000 are killed by hunters!
Wolves were once common throughout all of North America but were killed in most areas of the United States by the mid-1930s. Today their range has been reduced to Canada and the following portions of the United States: Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Wolves are making a comeback in the Great Lakes, northern Rockies and Southwestern United States.
Wolves can thrive in a diversity of habitats from the tundra to woodlands, forests, grasslands, and deserts.
Gray wolves mate in January or February and usually give birth to 4-7 pups after a gestation period of 63 days. Pups are born blind and defenseless. The pack cares for the pups until they mature at about 10 months of age.
In the wild: 8-13 years
In human care: 10-15 years
Wolves eat ungulates (large hoofed mammals) like elk, deer, moose and caribou. They are also known to eat beaver, rabbits and other small prey. Wolves are also scavengers and often eat animals that have died due to other causes like starvation and disease. In addition, they are opportunistic hunters, so when they have the chance, they will gorge themselves, sometimes eating as much as twenty pounds of meat in one sitting! That is comparable to eating 80 quarter pound hamburgers!