The red wolf is a carnivorous mammal that belongs to the rarest family of canids in the world.
If you are a fan of this wild animal that captivates attention with its robust appearance and heroic manifestations in many myths, check out this article to learn more about its profile.
To date, there is no clear information on the subspecies of origin of the red wolf. This animal is considered to be a hybridization of the gray wolf and the coyote. However, some studies state that this wild animal is a subspecies of the Canis rufus floridanus that has been extinct since 1930.
Other studies assume it is part of the Canis lupus rufus (or gray wolf) family, which became extinct around the 1970s. Still others indicate that it belongs to the Canis rufus gregoryi subspecies, which was announced extinct in 1980.
The red wolf was geographically distributed over the southeastern United States. Currently, the surviving species is present in North Carolina. Notably, it inhabits hard-to-reach swamps, mountainous areas and virgin forests.
In 1967, the US Fish and Wildlife Service designated this population as threatened. Therefore, it invested in protection actions to preserve it from extinction. Notably, the Port Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, was the first facility to adopt the mission of breeding red wolves as part of the rescue program.
The breeding actions carried out to ensure the reintroduction of this species into the ecosystem have generated convincing results. Unfortunately, the species is still in the process of extinction, as there are only 270 individuals of this population remain in the wild.
The red wolf has a look between that of the coyote and the gray wolf. Its size is smaller than the gray wolf, but larger than the coyote. It measures between 95 cm and 1.20 m long. Its weight is lighter, compared to the gray wolf, and is between 20 and 35 kg.
It has a coat of cinnamon red color and is shaded with black or gray. The color of its muzzle and ears is fawn. The underside of the muzzle is white and the back of the body is often dark. The particularity that distinguishes this species is that it undergoes a moult every summer.
The red wolf differs from the gray wolf by a smaller head and skull, longer ears and thinner and longer legs.
The red wolf feeds mainly on mammals such as rabbits and raccoons, in addition to rodents such as: muskrats and deer. Sometimes it eats carrion.
The red wolf lives in a pack generally composed of a dozen individuals: the young wolves of the year and of the previous generation. This pack is led by the dominant couple: the Alpha couple and it is organized according to a well determined hierarchy.
Its territory covers about 50 km², which it marks by using its secretions: urine and excrements. He lives in dens that he digs in the ground, especially next to rivers, or in the hollows of large trees. This is where he shelters his wolf and his cubs.
Wolf pups are sought after prey by other gray wolves or coyotes and by other wildlife, such as large raptors, bobcats, black bears, and alligators. So, to protect their cubs from attack, wolves tend to change dens regularly.
Weaning ends after 10 weeks and the young wolves leave their dens after almost 3 weeks. They start hunting at the age of 6 months.
Mating takes place at the end of the first trimester: February and March. The gestation process lasts about two months and gives birth to 3 or 6 blind cubs, after giving birth.
The upbringing of the young cubs is shared between the Alpha couple and their fellow cubs from the previous litter.
Just like its ancestor the Canis, the red wolf uses the howl to communicate with its fellow wolves. It is a hybrid cry: between the cry of the coyote and that of the gray wolf. In addition, it uses other behaviors (body, chemical or auditory) in its communication.
The red wolf has always been hunted by ranchers because it slaughters their livestock. This is why it is classified on the red list of endangered species (IUCN).
If you are among the organizations that advocate for the survival of the red wolf, you can express it by incorporating wolf items into your lifestyle.
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