Wild Animals/wolf


why the wolfs howls?

Dear Jesica

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

http://wolfpark.org/animals/sounds/ and Cristen Conger (http://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/wolves-howling-at-moon1.htm) say that wolves howl for various reasons. Information from both sites are included below. Howls are a form of long-distance communication, conveying a range of information. Due to the high pitch and the suspension of notes, the sounds of howls can carry 9.6 kilometres in the forest and 16 kilometres across the treeless tundra.
Wolves howl
1. as a rally cry for a pack to meet up
2. as a signal to let the pack know where a wolf is
3. to warn outside wolves to stay out of a pack's territory

Alpha wolves, leaders of the pack, usually use a lower-pitched howl and sound off more often than those with a more subservient social standing. Pups practise howling as they mature, mimicking those of adult wolves. Lone wolves may not howl as much to keep their whereabouts hidden from potential predators, as they don't have the added protection of a pack.

Wolves often howl as a group. Most howls by pack members are chorus howls, which involve three or more pack members singing in unison at multiple pitches to produce up to 12 related harmonies. Group howling can protect packs as the combined harmonies trick listeners into thinking there are more wolves present. Some wolves howl because they enjoy it. Pack members may howl in chorus to defend their territory and rally the pack together. and involve three or more wolves. Chorus howls may be started by any pack member or may be a response to the howling of a neighbouring pack of wolves or a coyote.

Wolves howl in response to something that sounds like a howl, like a train whistle, fire, police car siren or a human howling. Such howls are social and defend the pack’s territory against other wolves. Wolves recognize the voices of others. The howl of a packmate, a known neighbouring pack or a stranger will solicit different responses.

Wolves do not howl at the full moon any more often than at any other time of month. They point their faces toward the moon and stars, as their calls carry farther if they project them upward. They do not howl just at night, but howl more often during the hours around sunrise and sunset, when they are more active. Wolves howl more often in the winter breeding season, when wolves seek out mates, than in summer, but can howl any time of day, any time of the year.
As howls indicate a wolf's body size and health (with larger wolves using deeper tones), males can call to attract females.

I hope this helps

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

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BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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