Alaskan Timber Wolf Facts
- This majestic wild canine most frequently goes by the reasonably descriptive and informative common name of the Alaskan Timber Wolf. It also has several other, alternate common names. The variants typically occur across various parts of its range.
- These include such terms as Nothwestern wolf, Mackenzie valley wolf, Rocky Mountain Wolf, and Canadian Timber Wolf. Professional researchers, however, tend to use the scientific name for it. That’s the hard to pronounce term Canis lupus occidentalis.
- It earned that name at the hands of the Scottish explorer and naturalist, Sir John Richardson. He made fthe first official recognition of it as a separate and distinct species. This scientifically noteworthy deed he accomplished in the year 1829.
- Technically, this product of evolution qualifies as a subspecies of the well-known Gray Wolf (Canis lupus). Regardless of which term one chooses to employ when discussing it, though, this work of Nature stands out from the pack, so to speak.
- Fortunately, it appears to be maintaining a population base that’s both sizeable and stable. This trend further seems to hold true throughout the entirety of its natural range. The IUCN, therefore, presently has no liting for it on the organization’s Red List.
- The Alaskan Timber Wolf nevertheless does face several potential threats to its continued existence, like many species. Habitat loss obviously poses a danger, given human expansion. Its greatest danger, however, likely comes from climate change.
Alaskan Timber Wolf Physical Description
Although size isn’t the only impressive attribute of the Alaskan Timber Wolf, by any means, it’s nonetheless among them. In point of fact, this marvelous work of Nature actually ranks as one of the largest of all known subspecies of the better known Gray Wolf.
Like many mammals in the world, it also displays a moderate degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism. In its specific case, this trait manifests itself in terms of pure physical size. That’s because males typically grow slightly larger.
Its sheer size also tends to vary across its range. Overall, however, certain patterns predominate. Males typically range in weight from 124 – 159 lb (56.25 – 72.1 kg). Females, meanwhile, average roughly 94 – 132 lb (42.6 – 59.9 kg) across the same range.
Both genders, though, despite the differences in weight, achieve roughly the same average height at the shoulder. This ranges from about 26.8 – 36 in (68 – 91.4 cm). This, therefore, means that the males generally possess a stockier build than the females.
In terms of appearance, the two genders achieve the same overall color pattern. That, though, varies widely among individuals, regardless of gender. Individuals of the awesome Alaskan Timber Wolf all usually manifest long bushy tails, usually with a black tip.
The rest of the bodies, however, display widely varied patterns of colors. This generally consists of mixtures of various shades of gray and brown. Each also commonly displays light brownish-yellow markings appearing on both the faces and the undersides.
Variations in this natural pattern of colors nevertheless do occur. When these do, they usually manifest in truly striking visual displays. These exceptional specimens sometimes display such remarkable patterns as either pure white, brown, or even pure black.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Order: Canidae
- Genus: C. lupus
- Species: C. l. occidentalis
Alaskan Timber Wolf Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Fortunately, the majestic Alaskan Timber Wolf inhabits a moderately broad swathe of the globe. That native range covers a respectabale portion of the continent of North America. This actually gives it a more extensive range than the majority of its relatives.
As its most frequently used common name implies, furthermore, part of that range includes the state of Alaska, in the United States. But that’s only the beginning. That’s due to the surprising fact that, from there, that zone of habitation extends much further south.
That natural range runs through much of the western provinces of Canada. The exception, though, is the prairie landscapes of the country. From there, however, the canine makes appearance across much of the northwestern portions of the continental United States.
Within that range, though, it displays an extraordinary adaptibility in its choice of habitats. That’s because it appears in such diverse regions as forests, tundra, prairie, grasslands, deserts, mountains, and grasslands. It even often appears in subarctic forest regions!
Like its many relatives around the world, the stunning Alaskan Timber Wolf evolved purely as a carnivore. It’s generally an active hunter, yet it does occasionally feed as an ambush predator. It also has a wide ranging diet, including various creatures both large and small.
Its smaller prey frequently includes ground squirrels, beavers, salmon, hare, voles, and lemmings. Yet it doesn’t hesitate to hunt prey roughly its own size, or even larger than itself. This even includes such prey as deer, mountain goats, sheep, moose, and even bison!