The Wolf Intelligencer


Wolf Behavior : Reproductive, Social, Intelligent

Key observations of flexed-leg urination in the free-ranging Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) D Mech, R McIntyre – The Canadian Field-Naturalist, 2022


Flexed-leg urination (FLU) in female Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) has been little studied in the wild. Captive females in packs do not exhibit FLU unless they are both mature and dominant to an associate female, but these characteristics have not been confirmed in free-ranging wolves. We present observations of wolves in Yellowstone National Park that accord with those of wolves in captivity, extend our knowledge of FLU in Gray Wolf, pose additional questions about it, and suggest new areas of study to better understand it.

Wolf use of humanmade objects during pup-rearing. Animal Behavior and Cognition, Ausband, D.E., 2021


Some animals use humanmade objects for building and constructing nests or shelter and even for play. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) gather and use humanmade objects discovered in their natural environment. Gathering humanmade objects is a peculiar behavior particularly when there is no immediately apparent benefit to survival or reproduction. I opportunistically documented 46 different types of humanmade objects with plastic bottles and aluminum cans being the most common items found at wolf pup-rearing sites. Many objects were made of materials that appeared suitable to alleviate pain in teething pups. For some objects, however, it was not immediately obvious that they would alleviate teething pain due to their unpliable material. Additionally, such objects were quite rare in wolves’ natural environment although it was not uncommon to find them at pup-rearing sites. Rare humanmade objects may provide a novelty that stimulates pups more than common objects. I hypothesize that objects used by wolf pups 1) alleviate pain from teething, and 2) provide adults respite from energetic pups. The latter is an important distinction because it implies the benefit of object play is to the adults and not the pups per se. Gathering novel objects that occupy energetic and hungry pups may influence the overall ability of social carnivores to leave young unattended while they hunt, to rest upon their return, and ultimately rear young successfully.

Wolves in space: locations of individuals and their effect on pup survival in groups of a cooperatively breeding canid. Jacobs CE, Ausband DE. Animal Behaviour. 2019 Sep

Wolf denning phenology and reproductive success in response to climate signals. Mahoney P, Joly K, Borg B, Sorum M, Golden H, Rinaldi T, Saalfeld D, Latham D, Mangipane B, Koizumi C, Bélanger É. InAGU Fall Meeting Abstracts 2018 Dec

Quantity discrimination in canids: Dogs (Canis familiaris) and wolves (Canis lupus) compared; MPM Elena, CDL Wynne – Behavioural Processes, 2017 Sep

Beyond Distributed Cognition: Towards a Taxonomy of Nonreductive Social Cognition. Neemeh ZA, Favela LH. InCogSci 2017

The role of human-related risk in breeding site selection by wolves. Sazatornil V, Rodríguez A, Klaczek M, Ahmadi M, Álvares F, Arthur S, Blanco JC, Borg BL, Cluff D, Cortés Y, García EJ. Biological Conservation. 2016 Sep

[HTML] Wolf (Canis lupus) generation time and proportion of current breeding females by age  LD Mech, SM Barber-Meyer, J Erb – PloS one, 2016

Individual, group, and environmental influences on helping behavior in a social carnivore. Ausband, D.E., M.S. Mitchell, S.B. Bassing, A. Morehouse, D.W. Smith, D.R. Stahler, and J. Struthers. 2016

Negative­-assortative mating for color in wolves. Hedrick, P.W., D.W. Smith, and D.R. Stahler. 2016

Dog days of summer: influences on decision of wolves to move pups. Ausband, D.E., M.S. Mitchell, S.B. Bassing, M. Nordhagen, D.W. Smith, and D.R. Stahler. 2016.  Journal of Mammalogy

Do gray wolves (Canis lupus) support pack mates during aggressive inter-pack interactions?
KA Cassidy, RT McIntyre – Animal cognition, 2016

Heavily hunted wolves have higher stress and reproductive steroids than wolves with lower hunting pressure. Bryan HM, Smits JE, Koren L, Paquet PC, Wynne‐Edwards KE, Musiani M.Functional Ecology. 2015 Mar

Oocyte and ovary morphological observation of gray wolf (Canis lupus). Liu XG, Zhang ZZ, Zhang YH, Li YS, Fang FG, Li FY, Tao Y. Animal Biology. 2010 Jan

Social play in captive wolves (Canis lupus): not only an immature affair. Cordoni G. Behaviour. 2009 Jan

The effects of breeder loss on wolves. Brainerd SM, Andrén H, Bangs EE, Bradley EH, Fontaine JA, Hall W, Iliopoulos Y, Jimenez MD, Jozwiak EA, Liberg O, Mack CM. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 2008 Jan

Leadership in wolf, Canis lupus, packs. Mech, L.D., 2000.

Alpha status, dominance, and division of labor in wolf packs. Mech LD. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 1999 Nov

Tolerance by denning wolves, Canis lupus, to human disturbance. Thiel RP, Merrill S, Mech LD. Canadian Field Naturalist. 1998 Apr

Male and female partner preferences in a captive wolf pack (Canis lupus): specificity versus spread of sexual attention. Derix RR, Van Hooff JA. Behaviour. 1995 Jan

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Social influences on reproduction in wolves. Packard, J.M., Mech, L.D. and Seal, U.S., 1983

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Social rejection following mating of a subordinate wolf. Peterson RO. Journal of Mammalogy. 1979 Feb

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Disproportionate sex ratios of wolf pups. Mech LD. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 1975 Oct