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A Baby Wolf (Pup) | Science Trends

A Baby Wolf (Pup)

A baby wolf is both cute and adorable, they are often called pups or cubs and are the juveniles of both grey wolves (Lupus) and red wolves (Rufus) found across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Typically humans LOVE baby animals because they are so darn adorable. Arguably some of the cutest baby animals are wolf pups because they look like puppies. Wolf pups are not only adorable but they are also very smart creatures. Check out this guide to learn all about baby wolf pups.

In real life, wolves will do anything to avoid contact with mankind. – Liam Neeson

All About A Baby Wolf

There are 2 main wolf species, Lupus (gray wolves) and Rufus (red wolves). Wolves are in the same family as coyotes, jackals, dingos, and even man’s best friend dogs. Wolves are generally pretty harmless to people and will probably avoid you at all costs. Let’s go over what each species of wolf is like:

The Red Wolf

The red wolf is an extremely beautiful animal that is, unfortunately, an endangered species. These wolves are very distinctive because of the red coloring of their coats, hence the name red wolf.

  • Red wolves were hunted quite literally to the brink of extinction, and their numbers are still dwindling down to the point of there being no red wolves in the wild
  • Red wolves can typically be found in North Carolina at nature reserves
  • Their diet ranges from small game to deer, and they have even been known to eat berries and insects
  • Red wolves typically hunt alone or in very small packs, but typically red wolves are known to be very shy animals
  • They communicate with each other and other animals by howling, marking their scent, and even use facial expressions and body language (like dogs do)
  • Red wolves typically mate for life, and only the alpha male and female mate
    • The other wolves in the pack help raise the wolf pups
  • Red wolves have a lifespan of about 6 years in the wild and can live close to 15 years in captivity

The Grey Wolf

A grey wolf. Image source: Pixabay

The gray wolf is the red wolf’s cousin, and they are very similar to red wolves. These wolves range in color from gray (like their names imply) all the way to black and even white.

  • You can typically find gray wolves up in Alaska, the Great Lakes area, Canada, Mexico, and then even in the Rocky Mountains
  • Gray wolves hunt larger prey than their cousins and go after the big game like elk and caribou
    • They also have been known to hunt rabbits and smaller game as well
  • Gray wolves live in packs that consist of 7 wolves
    • The alpha male and female lead the pack while the others (their children) follow them
  • Alphas choose where their den location will be and even create their own little territory
  • Gray wolves communicate often using vocalizations (like howling, or barking)
  • Gray wolves live about 8 years in the wild and 13 years when being protected (not in captivity)

Coyotes

Coyotes are a subspecies of wolves but typically are not thought of as actual wolves. Coyotes are extremely intelligent and clever and are often portrayed as sly in folklore. When you look at the picture of the coyotes above you can see that often times red wolves are mistaken for coyotes by hunters, which is a factor in the red wolf’s dwindling numbers.

Characteristics Of Baby Wolves

Now that you know about the species of wolves let’s talk about wolf pups.

Red Wolf Baby

Red wolves start mating in the late winter into very early spring and have a gestational period of about 60 days (or 2 months). A little of puppies consists of anywhere from 2 pups up to 8 pups. When the puppies are born they are incapable of opening their eyes so they 100% rely on their mother for everything. For food, they rely on their mother’s milk for their first 2 weeks of life. After that, they eat regurgitated meat from their parents as well as milk. By the time they are 10 weeks old, red wolf pups have been weaned off their mother’s milk.

By the time the puppies are 2 weeks old, they are able to open their eyes and somewhat see. By the time they are 10 weeks old, they participate in hunts with their pack where they learn to hunt and survive. Eventually, the pups will go off and find their own pack and will have babies of their own.

Gray Wolf Baby

Gray wolf babies are extremely similar to red wolf pups. Mating season begins in January and the gestational period for gray wolves is about 60 days. A litter usually consists of 2 to 7 pups.  When gray wolf pups they cannot open their eyes, nor can they hear, so they rely on their mothers (just like the red wolf pups do).

When the pups are 2 weeks old they are able to open their eyes, their hearing comes in, they learn to walk, and they start growing teeth. A week after that they are able to leave their den and accompany the pack on hunts.

Wolf Baby Facts

  • The wolf pups are both the gray wolves and red wolves grow and develop just about the same, and actually, have similar “jobs” in their pack
    • When the puppies are old enough they accompany their pack on hunts. their job is to tire out the prey by chasing them around, then the alpha or another adult will make the kill
  • The other wolves in the pack will also help teach the pups and are also responsible for helping the puppies’ parents out
    • This actually helps teach the pups about communication with the other wolves for when they are part of their own pack
  • Pups will often play with one another, which is actually extremely important. It helps the puppies learn how to socialize and also helps their muscles grow stronger
    • It is really the same concept as when our pet dogs will play with another; it builds communication skills and helps burn off energy

About The Author

Kate Broome

Kate is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor's degree and is currently working on getting her Masters of Arts in English at Southern New Hampshire University. She loves to read and learn about all things space, a fanatic of NASA and the latest space science news. She currently lives in Texas with her two pit bulls, Lennox and Bentley.