Iberian wolf


 The Iberian wolf is a subspecies of the wolf that inhabits the Iberian Peninsula, mainly in the northwest, although it is also found elsewhere in Spanish territory. It is currently considered an endangered species, which is why many entities and associations are making great efforts to reintroduce them into their natural habitat.

In this dog57 file, we will talk in detail about the Iberian wolf, explaining its most common characteristics, behavior, habits, or breeding, and similarly, we will solve some of the frequent doubts and false myths that persist to this day. So, if you are interested in discovering more about these mammals that inhabit the Iberian Peninsula, don't hesitate, to keep reading!

What is the origin of the Iberian wolf?

The Iberian wolf is a subspecies of the common wolf or lupus specifically as many as 35 subspecies of wolves, among which are red, brown, or white wolves. Although the Iberian wolf was spread almost throughout the northern hemisphere in antiquity, today mainly due to habitat destruction or brutal hunting, wolf packs have been destroyed year after year in the past centuries, although it has been noted that some of these populations centers appear to be recovering.

 Even though in the past it was present in almost the entire territory of the peninsula, and therefore is part of the fauna of the Iberian Peninsula, today its inhabitants are located in the north-east of the peninsula, which are least affected by the decline , as well as in the regions of northern Andalusia like the Sierra Morena, this population was much smaller and more vulnerable.

We should also know that wolves are close relatives of other well-known species, such as coyotes or jackals, as well as other species that share an evolutionary relationship such as the fox. However, it is important to note that the dog is not descended from the wolf, as many people believe, as recent studies indicate that they are a different species that evolved from a common ancestor.

What are the physical traits of the Iberian wolf?

Iberian wolves are medium in size and weight from 30 to 50 kg, there is evidence of specimens that even reached 75 kg, and the height of wolves is 60-70 cm. Its body is elongated, its total length varies from 100 to 120 cm. The average life expectancy in the wild is usually around 16 years.

Its effect is athletic and powerful, showing long legs and resistance. Its head is large and has a narrow nose that ends with triangular and pointed ears. His stunning gaze sparkles with slanting amber eyes. Jaws are powerful, presenting sharp fangs, typical of large carnivores, which allow them to hunt and feed on various prey.

These subspecies of wolves are smaller than their counterparts that live in cooler temperatures because the colder it is in a wolf's habitat, the larger it is to survive in inclement weather. In contrast, the fur of the Iberian wolf will be less thick and longer than that of arctic or Siberian wolves.

 The fur of the Iberian wolf is heterogeneous in color, usually gray-brown with ocher undertones, to blend in with its environment, presenting black stripes on the front legs, which are the hallmark of this subspecies of the wolf.

Wolves are intelligent animals, with highly developed senses, especially the sense of smell. It is capable of traveling long distances, with a speed of up to 50 km/h. They can jump up to 5 meters in length and swim for several kilometers in open water.

Iberian wolf habits

The wolf is a social animal, that is, it spends its whole life in the company of a herd. It will be with this group that they go hunting and do all the vital activities such as breeding or defending themselves, being one of the most social and protective species. Conversely, the further you advance in the wolf sample, the more sad and lonely you become.

This herd consists of a breeding pair and their young or adolescent offspring because when they grow up they become independent to form their herd. There is always a sample called 'alpha', male, who will be the dominant and thus the leader of the pack, as there is a specific hierarchy that determines the strength and position of each sample of the pack.

They are territorial animals, distinguishing the areas in which they live by scratches or urine, among other things. On the other hand, have you ever wondered why wolves howl? These dogs use vocalizations to avoid the intrusions of other wolves into their territory, as well as to drive away other predators that may compete with them for the prey they are chasing.

The home of the Iberian wolf

The habitat of the wolf requires only one condition: stay away from urban areas. Except for these cases, wolves can live in multiple places, such as forests, mountains, or river banks. As long as there is water and food, they will seek suitable shelter, and unless humans get there, they will be able to survive on their own. Therefore, the adaptability of these dogs is remarkable, as they are considered a general species affected only by humans, from which they escape.

However, many people still think that wolves are dangerous or aggressive, but wolves do not usually attack people most attacks on livestock or humans are carried out by stray dogs.

Feeding the Iberian wolf

Wolves are one of the most famous carnivores in the world. Thus, if we look at the diet of the wolf, we can see that its prey ranges from rabbits to various ungulates. They are also great scavengers, making use of the remains of dead animals, either because they have fallen prey to other predators or because they have died from accidents or other causes.

 It has been recorded that wolves can also feed on fruit on some occasions, as well as food scraps that they can find, as they are excellent opportunists.

Despite their bad reputation, wolves do not attack herds very often. It is also not unusual for them to infiltrate enclosures such as chicken cages or rabbit cages, except in cases of extreme necessity where breathing in their natural environment is scarce, them hungry to risk getting close to human-inhabited cores, which they usually are . They tend to run away.

Iberian wolf breed

In the end, we will talk about the reproduction of the wolf. We must know that the breeding season of Iberian wolves begins at the end of January and ends at the beginning of April, at which time the breeding pair can separate from the herd. However, many cases have been recorded in which they remain with youngsters who have not yet reached reproductive age, helping them with subsequent feeding and raising the new generation.

Pregnancy lasts about 60-65 days, giving birth to a baby consisting of 3 to 8 young. These weigh around 500g at birth, their eyes don't open until 12-15 days and they are so exposed that the mother's hostility towards anyone who dares to get close is more than justified by the survival of these defenseless little ones.

Wolverine mothers breastfeed until they are one and a half months old, or even two months old. Once they are breastfed, they are fed by both the mother and other members of the herd, with food that they make for themselves. When they are four months old, they are called cubs and they remain with their families until they reach sexual maturity and go on to form their packs, which occurs at 2 years of age for females and 3 in males.

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