Seemingly strange in the wolf life things

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.

Continue reading “Seemingly strange in the wolf life things”

How to distinguish tracks of wolves and dogs

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”

Scaring lynxes away from their kills by wolves

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”

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 … 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”

Mortality in wolf pups

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.

Continue reading “Mortality in wolf pups”

Early denning behaviour and raising of pups after weaning in wolves

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.

Continue reading “Early denning behaviour and raising of pups after weaning in wolves”

Findings on the interference between wolves and lynxes 

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 “

Changes in the wolf reproduction rate and packing pattern with the increase in the lynx population density

Concerning competition between wolves and lynxes in Belarus, it is worthwhile to compare the situation in the local wolf population in Naliboki Forest in 2008-2012 (when there were half as many lynxes as there are now) and in 2015-2017 (when there were about 50 and even more lynxes). Both wolves and lynxes were more or less protected in Naliboki Forest in the 2000s. Continue reading “Changes in the wolf reproduction rate and packing pattern with the increase in the lynx population density”

Wolf breeding peculiarities

In Europe and wider in Eurasia between wolf researchers and in the circle of other wolf-related people (e.g. hunters specialising in killing wolves, wolf pup searches) there is a widely spread belief on wolf reproduction that wolves are strictly monogamous species with a certain way of breeding and family pattern of pack formation. Actually, in my study in Belarus since the late 1990s there have been found so many abnormalities in those, that I start to think about what actually prevails in the wolf reproduction and packing: the “rules” or “exceptions”. Such “abnormalities” occurring too often are a very interesting phenomenon and they need to be further investigated.  Continue reading “Wolf breeding peculiarities”

Investigation of the wolf population biology (general information)

Since 1999 I have shifted own efforts on the study on the wolf Canis lupus population ecology.  In 1996-1998 in Paazierre Forest (mainly in the Lovat terrain), the northern Belarus  there were fulfilled studies on the wolf diet in relation to the dramatic changes in the preystock and on breeding in wolves. The research on the … Continue reading “Investigation of the wolf population biology (general information)”

Since 1999 I have shifted own efforts on the study on the wolf Canis lupus population ecology.  In 1996-1998 in Paazierre Forest (mainly in the Lovat terrain), the northern Belarus  there were fulfilled studies on the wolf diet in relation to the dramatic changes in the preystock and on breeding in wolves. The research on the question of the species breeding had been continued there until 2005.  However,  since 2000 the main study area on wolves has been replaced in Naliboki Forest and its rural-forest surroundings.  The species reproduction and breeding behaviour have become the main pressing questions of my zoological study. Continue reading “Investigation of the wolf population biology (general information)”