Every time rereading the excellent wolf monograph by Mech and Boitani (2003), in particular, the item about wolf communication by Harrington and Asa, I was surprised to find out how rich voice-communication of wolves in North America and somewhere else can be. In my study areas in Belarus (look like in the whole country) I can characterize wolves as non-howling let’s say silent. More and more I become convinced that wolves in Belarus avoid to produce any loud noise.
This post gives the documentation by a camera-trap of two different litters (10 pups altogether), two breeding females of the same wolf pack, the founding male and two pup-sitters in Naliboki Forest. The last feature is particularly essential. One or two pup-sitters were present at pups on about 60% of the hundreds of photos taken. It looks like we have registered the features of another trend in the wolf denning behavior that we haven’t faced with before the lynx got common. That is when breeding wolves use pup-sitters to save their pups from the lynx aggression (see another post for other details), when they go for hunting.
By investigating the denning behaviour and ecology of wolves (Sidorovich and Rotenko, 2018) and lynxes in Naliboki Forest, we faced with several evident trends during the last years (2016-2019) that we connect with the changes in the local vertebrate community or more specifically with the pronounced changes in the population densities of those species that may affect the denning conditions for wolves and lynxes.
Continue reading “Trends in the denning behaviour of the wolf and lynx in connection with the changes in the vertebrate community in Naliboki Forest (north-western Belarus)”
Wolves frequently use surprising things such as plastic or glass bottles, metal or plastic cans, rubber or leather boots, bones, antlers etc. They carry them, gnaw them, play with them, demonstrate them to another wolf etc. In my research practice on wolves I registered such a wolf behavior for many times, and gradually I started […]
Wolves frequently use surprising things such as plastic or glass bottles, metal or plastic cans, rubber or leather boots, bones, antlers etc. They carry them, gnaw them, play with them, demonstrate them to another wolf etc. In my research practice on wolves I registered such a wolf behavior for many times, and gradually I started realizing, why wolves deal with the mentioned seemingly strange things. I might be not entirely right in the ideas, but anyway would like to share them as well as the photos taken.
Sometimes, it may be hard to differentiate tracks of the wolf and large domestic dog. Usually wolf footprints are bigger than those of dogs. Footprints left by wolves on a thin snow cover or loose ground are 8–13 cm long and 6–9 cm wide, whereas in the conditions of a loose snow cover these dimensions may be slightly higher. Prints of wolf digital pads are symmetric and oval, whereas in dogs they are frequently wider in rear part than in the front part. Male wolf has wider footprints than those of female wolf. Ratio between length and width comprises about 1.3 in footprints of male wolves, and approximately 1.5 in those of female wolves. In wolf footprints all digital pads look more massive than those of dogs in relation to the interdigital pad, even of large ones, and the two central digital pads in wolf footprints are mostly placed in front of the lateral digital pads. However, in a big male wolf the later feature is not pronounced, and this may be used for rough distinguishing of males and females among adult wolves by their fore footprints. The central digital pads are also placed tighter to each other in wolf footprints than those of stray dogs.
However, these observations are not totally reliable. Nowadays, some big dogs have big paws and rather massive digital pads like those of wolves. Continue reading “How to distinguish tracks of wolves and dogs”
Recently I faced with the next fourth case of scaring lynxes away from their kills by wolves and decided to prepare this post about this curious way of the species interference. This fourth registered such a story was outstandingly rich on events and relatively well photo-documented, therefore, I will begin just with that story.
In the story the main acting persons were Els Lavrysen and Hans Van Loy, a couple of lynx amateurs from Belgium, who faced the case of scaring lynx family away from the roe deer carcass by two wolves in Naliboki Forest (the central-western part of Belarus). Continue reading “Scaring lynxes away from their kills by wolves”
Together with Irina Rotenko we published a book about wolves in Belarus. There, we will address the questions of the species reproduction biology that are still insufficiently investigated and full of contradicting hypotheses and knowledge. However, the main thing for us in doing this book is that being interested in studying these hidden part of wolf life, we would like to … Continue reading “Recently published book on the wolf reproduction biology”
Together with Irina Rotenko we published a book about wolves in Belarus. There, we will address the questions of the species reproduction biology that are still insufficiently investigated and full of contradicting hypotheses and knowledge. However, the main thing for us in doing this book is that being interested in studying these hidden part of wolf life, we would like to share the knowledge and skills we have gained on wolves in Belarus with wolf colleagues and amateurs. Continue reading “Recently published book on the wolf reproduction biology”
The main monograph on the grey wolf by Mech and Boitani (2003), which still provides the basic and unequalled knowledge on the species biology, informed the following. “Almost 30 years ago, Keith (1974) concluded that “the factors which provide wolf pup mortality during the first 5 months are almost wholly unknown. This is probably the single greatest enigma in wolf biology today.” Though some strides have been made toward identifying these factors, this is still a much needed area of research.”
While reading this in 2004, we already were much aimed by the question. Moreover, the opportunity to find out something really new in the wolf biology accelerated these our research efforts. Nowadays, we may say that, at least, for the region of Belarus mortality in wolf pups is known more or less. Also, we assume that the factors, which impact the survival of wolf pups in Belarus, act in other regions of European forest zone. At the same time, we suppose that the only main causes of wolf pup mortality were found out, whereas many smaller questions remain unresolved.
I would like to share our knowledge on the early denning behaviour and raising pups after weaning in wolves basing on the information that was gained in Belarus mostly in Naliboki Forest and Paazierre Forest.
The information is divided into two items: the first item is early denning behaviour in wolves; and the second one is raising of pups after weaning.
aReading literature and talking with wolf and lynx researchers, it becomes evident that interference between the two species is actually poorly studied. Some mammalogists tend to assume that wolves suppress the lynx population. Some even suggest details of the aggressive behaviour of wolves towards lynxes: strong wolf packs attack lynx family groups and kill kits during lynx mating season when the kits stay alone or disperse. Seemingly, such stories are only speculative beliefs and ideas. Continue reading “Findings on the interference between wolves and lynxes “