gray wolf

(Canis lupus)


This is a large canine with a long bushy tail and large ears with a whitish belly. Its coloration is very similar to that of a coyote, but is a much larger animal. The color of the back of the wolf is a mixture of gray, brown and black. Males are typically between 66-96 cm high at the shoulders, and weigh between 27 and 45 kg – females usually weigh approximately 25% less than the males.


Although this species once ranged throughout most of North America and Mexico, it is now fairly rare in the United States with most of the individuals found in Alaska. There are still small populations in Isle Royale National Park and areas bordering Lake Superior as well as in parts of the Rocky Mountains and Cascade-Sierra Nevada Mountains. This species used to occur throughout Virginia, but is now considered extirpated from the state.


This species is carnivorous and is known to eat small mammals up to hoofed animals.