Wolf Info

Wolf (dier) (soort is nog gewenst)

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This page is to inform you of the 6 best-known subspecies of wolves, and other Canines of North America.


Northern Rocky Mountains Wolf-Canis lupus irremotus
This wolf inhabits the northern rocky mountains. It is typically light gray and white, weighing 70-140 pounds (One of the largest subspecies.). It fed primarily on American Bison, until humans destroyed the bison herds. When the wolves were forced to prey on livestock, they were wiped out as well (They now prey on bison, elk, and deer.). They were reintroduced and put under the protection of the Endangered Species Act in 1978. In 2008, they were removed from the list. Due to decrease in populations, they were moved back under federal protection in 2010. The Rocky Mountains Wolf has been the subject of many disputes in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Arctic Wolf-Canis lupus arctos
This subspecies lives in the far north of Canada, Alaska, and Greenland. Sometimes called white wolves, they are usually pure white, occasionally gray, black, even red. Their fur is thick, to stay warm in the sub-zero temperatures that they live in. They weigh 70-100 pounds. The Arctic Wolf’s main prey are caribou and musk ox, but they will eat almost anything they can overpower, including rodents and seals. There are other subspecies of white wolves, like the Tundra and Baffin Island wolf, they are sometimes said to be a slight variation of the Arctic wolf, others argue that they are their own subspecies.

Arctic wolf

Great Plains Wolf-Canis lupus nubilus
This wolf formerly had the largest range of any wolf. Due to human interference, it is now confined to the western Great Lakes region, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Their fur is usually a blend of black, gray, and red. They are darker than the N. Rocky Mountains wolf. Their average weight is 70-110 pounds. They hunt Moose, White-tailed Deer, and rodents. Humans nearly drove them to extinction. In 1926, they were classified as extinct. But small populations were found in Minnesota. These small numbers dwindled from hunting and trapping until they were put on the Endangered Species List in 1974. Numbers grew, and they were classified as threatened in 1978. In 2009, they were finally removed from the endangered species list. US Fish and Wildlife Service was promptly sued by wildlife protection groups. The wolves were then reclassified as threatened. We wait for the day when these wolves can live prosperously without a need for federal protection.

Great Plains Wolf

Mexican Wolf-Canis lupus baileyi
This wolf, sometimes called the Lobo, formerly occupied a range from central Mexico to the southwestern US, possibly as far north as Colorado. Hunters reduced the numbers of it’s natural prey, deer and elk, so it turned to livestock. Hunters and trappers eradicated all Lobos in the wild by 1957. In 1976, they were declared endangered. The wolves were then bred in captivity, and reintroduced to Arizona starting in 1998. The Lobos remain rare and endangered in the wild. Lobos are the smallest Gray Wolf subspecies, weighing 50-80 pounds. It’s fur is black, white, and gray, occasionally red.

Mexican Wolf, aka Lobo

Red Wolf-Canis (lupus) rufus
The Red Wolf was originally thought to be it’s own species, Canis rufus. It was later classified as a Gray Wolf subspecies, Canis lupus rufus. Some still consider it to be a separate species, with two subspecies, the Florida Red Wolf and the Swamp Wolf. It is believed by some biologists that the red wolf originated as a hybrid between the gray wolf and the coyote, but this has been proven unlikely. Red wolves have interbred with coyotes, creating the Eastern coyote, stronger than it’s western relative, the western coyote. This interbreeding has lowered the numbers of true purebred red wolves.
Red wolves previously inhabited the eastern part of the US, from New York, to Florida, all the way to eastern Texas. It may have extended north to Maine. It is a smaller wolf, about 40-90 pounds. It has longer ears and legs than other wolves. It’s fur is mostly reddish brown, with black and gray. Red wolves prey on medium sized animals, such as rodents, raccoons, rabbits, and small deer. Unlike most wolves, they usually hunt alone, though they do occasionally hunt in packs, just like coyotes. Excessive hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the Red wolf to become extinct in the wild. In the 1970’s, the last remaining population in Texas was captured to start a captive breeding program. Since then, 150 wolves have been released in various locations in the southeast. They are currently listed as Critically Endangered.

Red wolf

Domestic Dog-Canis lupus familiaris
Yes, Fido is technically a wolf. Man’s best friend comes in all shapes and sizes, but they are all considered to be a subspecies of gray wolves. They are quite different from the wild wolves, but not entirely unalike. Dogs actually kill more livestock than coyotes or wolves.

Left to Right:
A Redbone Hound, a dog used to hunt bears, mountain lions, and raccoons.
Yellow Labrador Retriever, most popular dog in the US and Canada.
Chihuahua, hard to believe it’s related to wolves, the smallest breed of dog.
St. Bernard, largest breed of dog.

Extinct Wolf Subspecies:
Cascade Mountain Wolf-
Extinct due to hunting and trapping.
Texas Gray Wolf-Extinct just 5 years after it’s discovery, due to human hunting.
Southern Rocky Mountains Wolf-Became extinct in 1935 from hunting, trapping, and poisoning.
Newfoundland Wolf-Weakened by food shortages and hunting, the wolf became extinct in 1911, though not listed as such until 1930.
Mogollon Mountain Wolf-Hunted to extinction by 1935.
Kenai Peninsula Wolf-Largest wolf in North America, driven to extinction during the Alaskan Gold rush due to “Predator Control”.
Greenland Wolf-Possibly immigrant Arctic Wolves, it is extinct.
British Columbian Wolf-Large black wolf in Canada, hunted to extinction.
Manitoba Wolf-Status uncertain, most likely extinct due to hunting.


Coyotes-Canis latrans
These smaller relatives of the gray wolf are a bit more hardy. Constantly trapped, poisoned, and shot, the coyote manages to adapt to living with humans. It’s range is even expanding, inhabiting nearly the entire US, up through Canada to Alaska, and south to Panama. They are at the top of their food chain, except where their territories overlap with the Gray wolf and Bears. When coyotes are found by wolves they are often killed, but coyotes sometimes band together to outnumber wolves. Despite this, coyotes are usually loners. They weigh 30-50 pounds with black, gray, and rust colored fur. Coyotes eat anything they can catch, usually rodents and rabbits, but also deer, reptiles, livestock, birds, and invertebrates. They are scavengers, and also consume carrion. They are well-established and are classified as Least Concern.

Red Fox-Vulpes vulpes
This fox occurs in most of the US and Canada, absent in the southwest US. Their numbers and range have actually increased since Europeans settled here. They weigh 8-25 pounds. They are usually reddish- orange, with dark black legs and a white tipped tail. They can also be gray, black, and brown. They are omnivores, eating rodents, reptiles, carrion, eggs, and berries. They are of Least Concern, their numbers steady.

Arctic Fox-Alopex lagopus
Lives in the far north of Canada and Alaska. These compact foxes weigh 6-20 pounds, the females being significantly, smaller. They have thick white fur, sometimes marked with brown or black. They eat lemmings, rabbits, and rodents. They also feed on carrion. They are of least concern in conservation.

Gray FoxUrocyon cinereoargenteus
Inhabits most of the US, absent from western Kansas, western Nebraska, western South and North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. They extend down to northern South America. Once the most common fox, it has given up ground to the Red Fox. It is about 8-15 pounds, with gray fur, and a reddish orange underbelly. They prey on rodents, reptiles, carrion and berries. They are of Least Concern.

Swift Fox-Vulpes velox
Related to red fox, but has several differences. They range from the Texas panhandle to Montana, however, they are mostly in the central US (West Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska. They weigh 5-7 pounds. Colored like the gray fox, but paler in color. They eat mostly rodents, with insects, reptiles, and some vegetation. They were once critically endangered due to predator control, but are now Least Concern in the US. They are endangered in Canada.

Kit Fox-Vulpes macrotis
This fox inhabits the southwest US, up to Oregon, and down to northern Mexico. It is usually under 7 pounds, with light gray coloring, with some red and black. They have proportionately large ears. They eat rodents and reptiles. They are currently of least concern.

<em>Canis lupus</em> - gray wolf skull, side
Left to Right: Dog, Fox, Coyote, Wolf.

From Top to Bottom:
Wolf  4.5 x 4.5 inches
Coyote 2.5 x 2.5 inches
Dog-varies in size
Fox 2 x 2 inches
(Gray fox smaller, Red fox tracks maybe blurred due to fur.)
These tracks will have claw marks.


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