Scientific classification: The wolf belongs to the family Canidae. The gray wolf is classified as Canis lupus, the Mexican gray wolf as Canis lupus baileyi, and the red wolf as Canis rufus.
The Wolf is a large carnivore related to the jackal and domestic dog. Wolves are known for their keen intelligence, skilled hunting, and highly organized social structure.
Wolves have strong jaws, powerful legs, and bushy tails. Certain features of the skull distinguish them from domestic dogs, some breeds of which they otherwise resemble. where do wolves live, the shaggy coat of most gray wolves is smoky gray, but it may have a brownish or reddish tinge. The chest and abdomen are usually white, with black patches on the backs and sides. Some gray wolf populations are pure black or pure white. An adult gray wolf stands about 90 cm (about 3 ft) high at the shoulder, measures 120 cm (4 ft) in length excluding the tail, and weighs 31 to 54 kg (68 to 120 lb). Females are smaller than males, and southern gray wolves are smaller than those in the north.
Gray wolves will travel long distances in pursuit of prey, sometimes as far as 48 km (30 mi) in one day. The gray wolf can travel at up to 56 km (35 mi) per hour but is comfortable trotting at 8 km (5 mi) per hour. Particularly during the winter, large packs of up to 24 members will form to hunt deer, caribou, moose, and other large herbivores. where do wolves live, Members of these packs cooperate to drive and ambush prey. They will usually select the weak, old, or very young animals for easier capture. Hunts can begin in the early evening and continue until morning.
Wolves also prey on rabbits, rodents, and birds. A wolf may consume up to 8 kg (18 lb) of meat at one time. When no live prey can be found, they will feed on carrion (decaying flesh of dead animals), berries, and invertebrates. There are few if any documented cases of a healthy wild wolf attacking a human without provocation.
By the early 20th century, wolf populations had been significantly reduced in many areas, and the animal has neared extinction in Western Europe, Mexico, and regions of the United States. where do wolves live, Under the United States Endangered Species Act of 1973, the gray wolf was listed as a threatened species in Minnesota and as endangered elsewhere in the United States except Alaska.