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Table of Contents
Known for their striking white and grey fur, the arctic wolf, or polar wolf, is a subspecies of the Canis lupus or grey wolf. Arctic wolves are native to the Queen Elizabeth Islands in Canada and are distinguished from their close relative the northwestern wolf by their smaller size.
See the fact file below for more information on the arctic wolf or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Arctic Wolf worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ETYMOLOGY AND TAXONOMY
- The arctic wolf, or Canis lupus arctos as classified by British zoologist Reginald Pocock, belongs to the wider Canis lupus, or gray wolf, species common all throughout North America and Eurasia.
- The term Canis in the arctic wolf’s scientific name is Latin for dog while lupus refers to wolf. The arctos refers to a polar region describing the habitat of the arctic wolf.
- The Canis lupus species also recognizes another subspecies known as Canis lupus orion, or Greenland wolf, which closely resembles the arctic wolf.
- The arctic wolf’s paws are insulated by thick pads which allow them to walk or run on frozen and slippery ground.
- An adult arctic wolf typically weighs from 70 to 125 pounds and stretches up to 5 feet long including their tail. They are usually only 2 to 3 feet in height.
- Much like other mammals, arctic wolves live in packs of around 6-8 related animals. Members of each pack have designated positions in a hierarchy that they distinguish through body posture communication. A male wolf would lead the pack and usually he would only mate with the dominant female.
- Arctic wolves do not hibernate during the winter because their main prey, the muskoxen, is typically active during this period. They hunt mostly during the day but they may also be awake at night. When hunting, arctic wolves also move in packs and share the kill.
- Communication among arctic wolves comes in the form of howls and scent markings. A howl can serve as a signal to other pack members on their location or to gather them to hunt. Howling and scent markings can also be a form of warning against other arctic wolf packs regarding territorial boundaries.
- Due to their rare encounters with humans in the subzero environment, arctic wolves are generally unafraid of people. They tend to approach humans with caution and curiosity. There have been records however of arctic wolves displaying violent and aggressive behavior towards humans within close proximity of their territory.
HABITAT AND DIET
- Arctic wolves live year-round in consistently cold climates, particularly in regions like northern Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Iceland. Such regions have dark periods that can last up to 5 months that have allowed the arctic wolves to adapt both to dark and cold environments.
- Arctic wolves do not stay in dens in the ground. The often frozen ground of their habitat makes it impossible for them to dig holes for shelter, which is why they prefer to stay in outcroppings of rock.
- Being carnivores, the diet of arctic wolfs consists mainly of other mammals such as muskoxen, hare, lemmings, and caribou. After hunting with their pack, arctic wolfs can consume a large mammal for up to a week. In one feeding period, a single arctic wolf can consume up to 20 pounds of meat.
- In a single pack, only the alpha arctic wolf male will mate with the beta female. Staying with one mate allows them to control the number of whelps, or wolf pups, which also helps in ensuring the adequate availability of food for all.
- A female wolf undergoes a gestation period of 63 days and gives birth to 2 to 3 wolf pups around late May or early June.
- Wolf pups are born with blue irises that eventually change to yellow as they mature. These babies typically weigh around 2-3 pounds and gain weight rapidly as they grow. They are also born with their eyes and ears closed but develop their sight and hearing within 12 to 14 days.
- These pups stay sheltered with their mother for a period of 6 weeks, where they can crawl around and feed on small pieces of chewed food brought to them by their mother. At 8 months, they are already full-grown adult wolves.
- Adult arctic wolves can live for up to 7 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity. Arctic wolves stay in one pack for their whole lives.
- The most common cause for arctic wolf deaths are inadequate food supply in the harsh climate. Fortunately arctic wolves are still classified as of least concern to being endangered. They still however do face threats to their habitat due to significant drops in the world’s temperature.
- Arctic wolf populations must still be monitored. Zoos and wolf sanctuaries are also exerting efforts for the care and conservation of arctic wolves.
Arctic Wolf Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the arctic wolf across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Arctic Wolf worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the arctic wolf, or polar wolf, which is a subspecies of the Canis lupus or grey wolf. Arctic wolves are native to the Queen Elizabeth Islands in Canada and are distinguished from their close relative the northwestern wolf by their smaller size.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Arctic Wolf Facts
- Meet an Arctic Wolf
- Arctic Wolf Anatomy
- Test Yourself
- My Habitat
- Wolf and Dog
- Arctic Wolf Wiki
- Tell Me More
- Arctic Wolf Recap
- Other Wolves
- Arctic Friends
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Link will appear as Arctic Wolf Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 5, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.