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Types of Wolves: Gray Wolf

© written by Tasha Guenther

Gray Wolf Subspecies: Northwestern Wolf

Northwestern Wolf
Northwestern Wolf; Photographer, Nuka;
used with permission under C.C. BY 2.0

The Northwestern wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis) is arguably the largest of any wolf species on earth. It is commonly found in Alaska and the Rocky Mountains of the northern United States (Colorado) and Canada (Alberta).

The Northwestern wolf weighs a staggering 150 pounds at the most and can measure up to a metre tall shoulder height! These animals are massive... not only that, but they spend about 10 hours a night travelling and hunting.

Northwestern wolves also have extremely complex pack organizations. No pack is the same. Some are small, with 6 wolves including the alpha male and female. Some are very large; the largest Northwestern wolf pack ever recorded was 37 wolves in total. This must mean that the wolves born into this pack were mostly female and submissive enough to stay for years with the alpha male and female.

Inhabiting the northwest regions of North America means that the Northwestern wolf diets mainly on large hoofed mammals. Elk, deer, moose, bison, and even cows are prey. And again, the Northwestern wolf eats all of its prey, including the hooves! So weird... but so neccesary for these animals' survival.