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Types and subspecies of wolves. Tundra wolf: description, characteristics and habitat

Wolves are dangerous and fierce predators living on our planet for more than a million years. They are distant ancestors of modern dogs. The tundra wolf is one of many species of these animals.

Types of wolves

Many animals - jackals, coyotes, dogs (wild and domestic), foxes, arctic foxes and, in fact, wolves, considered the most numerous group of predators in their habitat range belong to the genus of wolves. In Russia there are several subspecies of these predators.

Middle Russian forest wolf. A sign from childhood as a hero of Russian folk tales. This is a fairly large animal, reaching a length of 160 cm and weighing 45 kg. Often there are individuals and in 70-80 kg. It dwells mainly in the forest, forest-steppe zone of the European part of the country and in Siberia.

Tundra wolf. The main difference is the light, almost white color of the coat, which makes it possible to hide among the snows of the tundra and forest-tundra, where these animals live.

The steppe wolf is a poorly-studied subspecies, famous for its rusty-gray, sometimes even brown color. It is slightly smaller in size than the Central Russian wolf, and is found mainly in the steppes of the southern regions of Russia.

On the territory of Transbaikalia and the Primorye Territory, one of the smallest subspecies of these predators is the Mongolian wolf. Its maximum weight does not exceed 50 kg. The stiff and rather coarse wool of this wolf has a dirty gray color with a shade of ocher.

The population of the Caucasian wolf occupies a small territory of the foothills of the North Caucasus. They are animals with shorter wool. They are gray in color, but much darker than other species and subspecies of wolves.

Tundra wolf - description

The population of these predators in the zone of the tundra and forest-tundra is quite numerous. Wolves have a lean body structure and quite considerable sizes. The height at the withers is 90-100 cm. They are characterized by a long and dense hairline, which is distinguished by a light, sometimes quite white color. This coat perfectly protects from the most severe frosts, and also makes the predator less noticeable on white snow. In addition, survival in the Far North is helped by a magnificent nose and sharp eyesight, which allows them to successfully hunt. Massive teeth can easily deal with any prey, even shattering strong bones.


Basically, the habitat of these predators is the coast of the Arctic Ocean, tundra and forest-tundra. The tundra wolf manages to exist in this region for more than one hundred thousand years, despite severe climatic conditions, extreme frosts, icy winds and snow drifts. Near the ocean, the predator eats ejected waves on the shore with corpses of seals, as well as fish. In the regions of the mainland, the wolf is served by lemmings, birds, rabbits, foxes. Often, he sows nests, eating eggs and chicks.


Like all other varieties of wolves, the tundra wolf is a social animal. In any pack there is a strict hierarchy. As a rule, stronger and more aggressive individuals grow up. The situation in the pack is well indicated by the way a wolf holds a tail. At the leader it is in a raised state, and among the members of the pack, which are on the lower step of the hierarchy, the tail is lowered or completely pinched. Connection with friends in a pack of wolves is very close. They communicate with each other in the language of facial expressions and body movements, which helps them to act together.

Tundra wolf expresses its feelings with the help of the tail. In a raised position with a slightly curved tip, it means confidence. Friendliness is expressed by a lowered tail, the tip of which looks upwards. In an angry state, the wolf holds his ears upright, unfolding them forward, and gritting his teeth. In case of danger, the ears are retracted and the tongue protrudes slightly at the grin. Members of the pack can easily understand by such signs as how to behave.

Wolves are not always fierce. After a hearty lunch, having slept off, they can play with pleasure with pleasure, playing with their relatives.

Native hunters

These animals were born for hunting. The main weapon is powerful and sharp teeth, capable of cracking even the thigh bone of a deer caught. The tundra wolf hunts absolutely noiselessly. They move almost without touching the heel of the earth. When it comes to chasing a deer, its speed can develop up to 60 kilometers per hour. A special tread of the wolf, when the hind paw is placed exactly after the front, allows him to move quickly enough even in the deepest snow. In the process of hunting, the predator determines the location of the prey by means of a nose, which is capable of catching the smell of any animal at a distance of up to two kilometers. Due to the acute sense of smell, a wolf can pursue his victim on the trail.

In food, these animals are unpretentious - they can eat anything that can be caught. Their diet is different at different times of the year. In summer, its basis is hares, birds, beetles, frogs and even plant foods in the form of forest fruits and lichen. In autumn and winter, flocks of wolves migrate after the reindeer, which often become the prey of these predators. Wolves are attacked mainly by young animals or weakened animals. Healthy and strong deer are able to stand up for themselves. Against the horns and powerful hoof wolves it is difficult to resist.

At one time the wolf is able to eat up to 14 kilograms of meat. He needs to satisfy his hunger thoroughly, because in the search for the next victim, it may be necessary to scour several days, because only 10% of hunting trips are successful. The leader starts the meal first, the rest of the pack at this time huddle at a distance and patiently wait their turn until it is full.


Very warm fur of white or light gray color - this is not the only thing that a tundra wolf is different from the usual forest. The laws of the tundra are very severe - it is difficult to feed many mouths, therefore in a wolf pack only the female leader can have offspring. Puppies from other wolves are destroyed immediately at birth. The period of pregnancy in wolves lasts 75 days. The cubs are born blind, usually not more than five in the litter. For a month and a half, they feed on mother's milk and half-digested meat, which belches them male. Not only parents but also other members of the pack take care of the kids. After 2-3 months, the cubs are already able to run after the pack, and the family leaves its lair. Young wolves for several years are next to their parents, mastering all the wisdom of hunting, after which they leave and acquire their own flocks.

In places, wolves inflict serious damage on reindeer herding, so often hunters have to regulate their numbers.

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