Wolf pups are generally born in mid April. Gestation period is about 63 days for wolf pups. At birth they weigh only one pound, and their eyes are closed. At 12 to 15 days after they open their eyes and at two weeks the pups can walk. At three weeks the pups come out of the den for the first time.
Wolf pups are born with blue eyes. At sixteen weeks their eye color changes to a yellow-gold. It’s rare but some wolves will have blue eyes.
From pup to adult member of the pack
10 – 13 days: the eyes open
Three weeks: pups explore their den
Four to five weeks: pups take short trips outside the den and the pups start to eat regurgitated meat from the adults
Six weeks: pups will travel around the den but not far
Six to eight weeks: pups are weaned and stay at a rendezvous site with a babysitter, usually older sibling
12 weeks: pups go on hunts with the pack
15 – 28 weeks: pups get their adult teeth
Seven to eight months: begin to hunt with the pack
Life in the wild is not easy
Mortality for wolf pups is around 45% and pups are preyed upon by Eagles and bears. Wolf pups often die from starvation and malnutrition.
Wolf pups are raised within a closely nit family called a pack. Wolf pups quickly earn or learn their status within a pack. The wolf family is led by an alpha pair. Pups are taught how to hunt by the pack members.
Educational resources for more facts on wolves, educational and political sources
Timber Wolf Alliance – Adrian Wydeven/wolf biologist
Nelson Institute – Carnivore Coexistence Lab – Dr. Adrian Treves
Defenders of Wildlife basic wolf facts
Humane Society of the U. S. – wolves
National Geographic – wolf facts
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
*photographs public domain
One Reply to “It’s not an easy life for a wild wolf pup…”
They have to grow up fast, don’t they? Such a high mortality rate. Nature can be harsh. Survival of the fittest, I suppose. Thanks Rachel for these interesting facts.