Red wolves comprise a critically endangered species
of wolf found in North America. They used to inhabit
the southeast of the United States and a small part
of Canada, from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast and
up to land below the Saint Lawrence River. After being
deemed extinct in the wild in the 1980s, red wolves
were reintroduced to the wild in northeastern North
Carolina. Red wolves have also been released onto coastal
islands of Mississippi, North Carolina, and Florida
to promote reproduction.
Red wolves measure about 26-31 inches in height and
44-65 inches in length, including their tails, which
measure 12-17 inches in length. They weigh 54 pounds
on average, though they may weigh anywhere between 35
and 90 pounds. Red wolves have long, coarse, reddish
brown fur with black ticking along their backs and a
thick coat of cream-colored fur on each of their chests
that serves to insulate heat. Their tails are often
black in color.
Red wolves are diurnal, meaning they hunt by day and
rest at night. They hunt either alone or in small packs.
Red wolves, prior to becoming extinct in the wild, fed
on small animals like coypus, rabbits, and various rodents.
Since the effort to repopulate began, red wolves have
subsisted on deer, raccoons, coypus, and rabbits. Red
wolves are apex predators, and therefore have no natural
predators. However, interspecific competition may occur
between red wolves and coyotes, bobcats, and even American
Red wolves live in family units within defined territories.
Each pack consists of a dominant mating pair, which,
normally remains together for life, and their offspring.
Within each pack exists a complex power structure of
dominant and subordinate wolves, which facilitates the
pack's ability to function as a unit. The boundaries
of red wolves' territories are marked by scent, which
is intended to prevent other wolf packs from encroaching
on their territory. Red wolves communicate through scent
markings, noises, posture, and facial expressions.
Red wolves typically become sexually mature by the
time they are two years old. They mate late in the winter.
The gestation period of female red wolves is 60-68 days,
after which a female will give birth to a litter of
two to eight pups. The average litter size is five pups.
The alpha male and female's offspring may live in the
territory into which they were born until they become
sexually mature. On average, red wolves live for six
to seven years in the wild, and up to 18 years in captivity.
About the Author
Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals
http://www.wildlife-animals.com an educational wildlife
and animal website. Jacob also guest writes for Dog