Wolves are the largest members of the wild dog family. They are highly social and live in packs of up to 20 wolves. A pack usually consists of a mated pair and their adult offspring. Wolves have developed complex forms of communication as a result of group living, including body language and facial expressions (along with their familiar howling).
Wolves are carnivores and mainly prey on large mammals such as elk, red deer and wild boar. They are highly territorial and normally have very large territories in order to ensure a regular supply of prey.
Wolves were hunted to extinction in the UK around 300 years ago.
Most wolves have a greyish-brown coat but this can vary in colour from white to black. Wolves have strong jaws and sharp canine and carnassial teeth used for tearing and chewing meat. Their tails are carried straight out or hanging down – they are never curled. Wolf ears are rounded and relatively short, and the muzzle is large and blocky.
Length: 7 feet (2m) Weight: 30-50kg Average Lifespan: 6-8 years.
When to see
Wolves do not make good guard dogs because they are naturally afraid of the unfamiliar and will hide from visitors rather than bark at them.