Q:

How do wolves reproduce?

A:

Quick Answer

Wolves reproduce when the alpha male and female of a pack mate and bear offspring. Once this occurs, all members of the pack, which is a group of family members and often the older offspring of the mating pair, take care of the pups.

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Full Answer

A wolf reaches prime reproductive age between 2 and 3 years old. At this point the female goes into heat and mates with a male during the first three months of the year, usually from January to March. The female carries the pups for 63 days before giving birth to a litter, which consists of between four and six young.

The new pups are born blind and deaf, depending on their mother for nourishment and the rest of the pack for protection. They nurse at least every 4 hours for several weeks. At six weeks old the pups are weaned from their mother's milk, and by 8 weeks they are eating solid food. By the time the pups reach 6 months of age, they travel with pack and at 9 months they are considered fully mature although they do not officially join the pack until they reach the age of 3. At this point, the pups can either remain with the pack, which consists of older siblings, relatives and their parents, or strike out on their own.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where are wolves found?

    A:

    Canis lupus, the common wolf, originally ranged throughout the Northern Hemisphere, living in North America from the Arctic down to Mexico, and from northern Europe down to southern Asia and northern Africa. Canis rufus, the red wolf, is a North American species that once ranged from Ontario to the southwestern United States.

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  • Q:

    How fast can wolves run?

    A:

    Wolves can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour in short bursts. A wolf's trotting speed is around 5 miles per hour. As wide-ranging animals, wolves can cover as much as 30 miles of ground in a day when hunting.

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  • Q:

    Are wolves endangered?

    A:

    Both major species of wolf, the gray wolf and the red wolf, are classified as endangered. There are wolf populations that have experienced enough recovery to no longer carry the designation in specific regions. However, many animal species and subspecies not specifically listed as endangered are also considered at risk.

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    How do wolves mate?

    A:

    Wolves mate when a male wolf mounts a female wolf, or bitch, from behind during the female's estrus, which is the period of time when she is in heat. This period, which lasts from four to seven days, is signaled when the female lifts her tail in a particular way.

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