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Gray Wolf Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Michelle Madden
In this lesson, you will learn about the gray wolf, the largest of all canines. Discover how gray wolves live - including what they eat and how they communicate.

What Is a Gray Wolf?

Gray Wolf
Gray wolf

Fairy tales may make wolves seem like 'big, bad' creatures, but they aren't really. In fact, the wolf is a canine just like 'man's best friend,' the domestic dog, which is commonly kept as a pet by people.

The gray wolf is the largest of all canines. It is a land mammal that lives on several different continents including North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Adult males usually weigh between 70 - 145 pounds. Adult females weigh about 60 - 100 pounds. Because they often live in forests, they are also known as 'timber wolves.' However, wolves can live in many habitats, from grasslands to deserts. Some even live on Arctic tundra!

What Does a Gray Wolf Eat?

Gray wolves are predators which means they hunt other animals for food. They usually eat large, hoofed animals like deer, moose, bison, and elk, but they also eat smaller mammals such as rodents (like beavers and rabbits). Gray wolves are an important part of the ecosystem because they help to control the population of animals that they hunt. Although gray wolves are predators, they will sometimes behave as scavengers too, and will eat animals that have already died.

Live in a Pack or as a Lone Wolf?

Gray wolves usually belong to a pack, or a group of wolves that live together like a family. The pack usually has between 4 - 12 members and is led two adults - an alpha male and an alpha female. This pair is sort of like what we humans would call 'Dad' and 'Mom' in our human families. The male and female alpha dogs stay together for their entire lives and only make pups, or baby wolves, with each other. When gray wolves have pups, they raise them in the pack for at least 2 or 3 years, which is when the pups mature into adults.

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