wolf (Canis lupus)

The wolf (Canis lupus) is a mammal of the canine family. Biologically speaking, it is the same species as the domestic dog. The wolf is the largest canine living in the wild. Out of all the northern predators, the wolf is the most social species that prefers to live in packs formed by family units. Wolves communicate with each other via postures, gestures, facial expressions, scent marks and howling. Contrary to what stories tell us, the wolves do not howl more than usual during the full moon. Wolves howl to signal the beginning of hunt, to guard their territory and to call the pack together.

A wolf looking at the camera in tall grass. Wolf. Photo: Lassi Rautiainen
Pack of three wolves on snow. Wolfpack on snow. Photo: Paavo Hamunen

Description of the wolf

Suden tuntomerkitThe fur of the wolf is golden yellow or silver grey. The wolf is the largest canine living in the wild. The wolf's body is 100–140 cm long, its tail measures 35–50 cm and it usually weighs between 20–50 kg, although specimens that have weighed over 70 kg have also been seen. The male is larger than the female.

Howling of a wolf pack

Wolf tracks

The wolf leaves tracks that are typical of large canines. Telling the tracks of a wolf apart from those left by a large dog is very difficult. As is typical of canines, the print left by the wolf's forepaw (10–11 cm) is larger than that left by its hindpaw (9–10 cm). When measuring wolf tracks, the ...