In Europe, the range of wolves has declined sharply in recent centuries due to eradication and urbanization causing fragmentation and reduction of naturally available forest habitats.
The wolf inhabits mainly areas with a high forest cover (over 40%), i.e. areas covered with dense forest complexes. It inhabits various types of forest stands, from deciduous forests to coniferous monocultures.
The wolf is the largest European representative of canids.
Adult males, according to various studies, are larger than females by about 10–25%. The body weight of males ranges from 35 to 65 kg (average 45 kg), and females from 30 to 50 kg (average 35 kg).
The color of the wolf changes throughout its life. Cubs are usually darker in color and pups are almost black (except for the back of the head) at birth. The fur has a thermal insulation function.
Wolves have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, but definitely worse eyesight. Howling is mainly used to communicate with the family group, but it is also a way to mark one’s presence and scare wolves from other family groups.
As carnivores, wolves have 42 teeth with a cutting and crushing function.
The wolf lives in packs. He is intelligent, hardy and extremely protective of his pack.
As a gregarious social species, wolves have a highly diverse behavioral system that allows them to to maintain the proper hierarchy in the herd.
Dominance or subordination are expressed through highly developed visual communication (body language), based on facial expressions, posture or arrangement of body parts (ears, tail).
During communication between individual individuals in a pack, as well as between individual packs (e.g. to communicate the presence of a given pack in a territory), wolves also use a wide range of sounds (vocal communication).
However, a very important form of communication, especially between individual groups, is scent communication, e.g. marking territory with urine.
Wolves hunt their prey in packs. Larger family groups hunt larger animals.
Wolves can chase prey at speeds of around 60 km/h for several minutes, but not all attempts to capture prey are successful.
They choose the easiest prey to hunt, which is why old, sick and young animals are their victims most often. Among cervids, wolves prey most often on young and females, and among wild boars, weaners are their prey most often. After a successful hunt, wolves begin to consume in order according to the hierarchy in the family.
Wolves definitely avoid densely populated regions, i.e. places located in the vicinity of larger cities and agglomerations, as well as those characterized by a dense network of roads.
The wolf has been present in human culture since the dawn of time.
Usually in a negative context, as a predator, killer or evil incarnate, causing widespread fear. In the Middle Ages, the wolf was exterminated in: Denmark, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
On the other hand, the independence of the wolf, strength and perseverance are admired.
Recently, due to the increase in environmental awareness, the perception of the wolf is gradually improving. Fear is replaced by an understanding of its role in the ecosystem.
Wolf reintroduction means the artificial reintroduction of the wolf into areas where it has been exterminated. This is done only in areas that still have large tracts of wilderness, rich in game that wolves can hunt.
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