the red wolf


 The red wolf is an animal of controversial origin and has been identified, with various positions being raised, such as that it is a subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) or that it is a different species from that which is assigned the scientific name Canis rufus. Since this last option is the one recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the one that appears, in addition, in the Comparative Taxonomic Database (CDT), we will talk about this wolf as a different species and not a subspecies, since it is also suggested Different subspecies of the red wolf in some cases.

In this dog57 article, you will learn about all the characteristics of the red wolf, its habitat, its habits, and much more. Keep reading to find out more about this!

What is the origin of the red wolf?

The red wolf is closely related to the wolf type. The length of these wolves is usually between 1 and 1.3 m, the tail is 30 to 50 cm and the height is approximately 60 to 80 cm. Males are slightly larger than females. Weight ranges from 20 to 40 kg. On the other hand, they have long legs and ears, the latter is also pointed.

It is a beautiful animal with distinctive colors and short fur. The upper body is a mixture of dark, ocher, gray, or black colors, but the back or back area is usually darker. Around and below the snout to the chest there is a white pattern, while on the trail there is a color that tends to be black. In the summer it is normal for him to change his coat and in the winter it tends more towards a reddish color.

Subspecies of the red wolf

The red wolf, as mentioned at the beginning, was a controversial animal from the point of view of taxonomy, since it was proposed on the one hand that it was a subspecies of the gray wolf, on the other hand, to a subspecies of the wolf, and the idea of being a hybrid between wolves and coyotes was suggested. However, all of these positions, due to genetic studies, have not been accepted and identified as distinct species until now.

This same report refers to other species indicating that the first two mentioned subspecies became extinct. However, in the other studies used to write this file, no subspecies were indicated, with some even explicitly stating that the red wolf does not have a subspecies. For all these reasons, its classification is still not entirely clear to this day.

home of the red wolf

At first, it was estimated that the red wolf was restricted to the southeastern United States only, but later it turned out that it was also distributed as far north, as far as eastern Canada. As for the habitat of the species, there is not enough information, according to the IUCN, because when research began around it, the population dropped.

It is estimated that they evolved in different types of habitats. The habitat used by the last inhabitants of the wilderness was the prairie swamps located in specific areas of Louisiana and Texas. However, it is by chance that the largest population lives in the forests of large rivers and swampy areas. In this sense, it follows that the red wolf is a habitat specialist, capable of evolving in different types of ecosystems.

The only wild populations of the red wolf are the reintroduced ones that live in the mosaic of farmland and woodland with pine trees and a small evergreen section of North Carolina.

red wolf feeding

This type of wolf is an omnivorous animal, like the rest of the dog species. Tend to hunt in the same area for 7 to 10 days and then change areas. Now, what exactly does a red wolf eat? Among their favorite before we find:

the birds

It is also common for them to include carrion in their diet. This wolf can also include certain types of fruit in its diet, although its main food source is of animal origin.

red wolf habits

It is mainly a nocturnal animal, usually lives in herds and establishes an area as its home, where they develop exclusively, so they do not allow the presence of other of groups of species. In general, the spouses establish a bundle made up of them, as the alpha and their descendants.

 However, sometimes larger groups may be created. Within the herd, these wolves tend to live peacefully, however, the same does not happen if there is the presence of a stranger facing them, which is a common trait among dogs.

These wolves create a complex system of communication among themselves, based on chemical signals, behavioral aspects, tactile and the emission of different types of sounds. They also tend to mark their territory with olfactory signals.

red wolf breed

Red wolf reproduction develops in a very similar way to that of other wolf species. They have a hierarchical role, which is represented by the couple who establish the pack and which is known as the alpha. This is the only person with the privilege of procreation, other individuals of reproductive age must withdraw from the group and form their families to produce offspring.

The red wolf breeds between January and March, the gestation time lasts from 60 to 63 days and the number of pups is between 3 and 6, who are born in the spring, although there are cases of females giving birth even. About 12 puppies. Before giving birth, the female identifies a burrow, which can be a hollow tree trunk, mounds of sand, or near a stream in the area, to give birth and raise her young.

All members of the Red Wolf group take part in the care and protection of the young. Thus, they help to bring food to the young and monitor them at least for the first year of life.
In the wild, a red wolf usually lives about 4 years, as it is very rare for a red wolf to die of natural causes. However, life expectancy in captivity increases significantly, reaching 15 years.

Save the red wolf

Due to the conflicts that arose with the people who kept the animals, red wolves almost became extinct from their areas of distribution. However, a program for their retrieval has been developed and a group of these animals have been captured for later reintroduction into a specific area and corresponding follow-up on their viability.

The red wolf is currently considered critically endangered by the IUCN. Among the threats, in addition to direct hunting, which is prohibited in the United States, interbreeding with wolves and coyotes is an aspect that greatly harms the stability of the species, as it can make it disappear because this is one of the consequences that occur in some cases of crossbreeding.

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