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Wolves: Science

© written by Tasha Guenther

Alpha male
Alpha Male

There are many types of wolves. The entire biological family of wolves is referred to as the Canidae and the genus is referred to as Canis.

Within this genus, there are about four existing species: Canis lupus (the Gray wolf), Canis rufus (the Red wolf), Canis lyacon (the Eastern wolf), and Canis simensis (the Ethiopian wolf).

There are many subspecies of wolves all over the world. For some of these subspecies, the differences between them are so minor that they only really matter to specialized scientists. There are, however, subspecies that show visible differences, making them well-known and just plain... cool.

Within the species Canis lupus, for example, there are a number of subspecies. In fact, it is now believed that there are 37 subspecies of gray wolves across the globe! The Northwestern wolf, Mexican wolf, Eurasian wolf, and most especially, the Arctic wolf are some of the well-known, more popular types of gray wolf subspecies.

However, no matter the species or subspecies, all wolves are carnivores. This means they eat meat.

Further, wolves are obligate carnivores–meaning they must eat animal meat to survive. No vegetables for wolves!