Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Beautiful Wolf? (56 Pics)

March 9th, 2012 Permalink

Fear of the wolf –the predator–is woven into folklore, fairy tales, mythology, music, and art to depict wolves as villains. From the Brothers Grimm to present-day sci fi, wolves are infamous for gobbling up people, for huffing and puffing and blowing down houses, and for one of the most famous storybook scenes when the big bad wolf said to Little Red Riding Hood, “Ah the better to see you with, my dear. The better to hear you with, my dear. The better to eat you with, my dear.” But the big bad wolf reputation is totally undeserved as wolves rarely attack humans. Yet untold scores of wolves have been ruthlessly hunted, shot, poisoned or trapped because of how much humans fear these fascinating and beautiful animals. At one point, wolves had been hunted to near extinction. Now their numbers have rebounded due to conservation. Did you know that wolves don’t truly bark or howl at the moon, or that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning that being attacked by a wolf? [56 Photos]

Fighting wolves

Wolves have long been feared, made infamous by the Brothers Grimm in fairy tales, Aesop’s Fables, and legends aplenty from ancient times. But for all their spine-tingling howls, wolves almost never attack humans. Photo #1 by Tambako the Jaguar

Wolf hunting in snowy Netherlands

Wolf hunting in snowy Netherlands. The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is the most common type of wolf and the largest member of the wild “dog” family. Photo #2 by Chris Muiden


Leaping wolf

This leaping wolf looks like a playful dog, but like dogs, wolves are very social animals; they are affectionate, loyal and very intelligent. Photo #3 by Valerie

Big wolf yawn

Wolves have 42 teeth but do little chewing. Just the same, a wolf can consume nearly 20 pounds of prey per feeding. Photo #4 by Tambako the Jaguar

Canis lupus -- Gray wolf laying

While this wolf is alert but resting, wolves can run at speeds of 35 – 40 mph. Average trotting speed is 7 – 9 mph which they can keep up for hours, sometimes covering 55 miles in one night. In packs, wolves hunt in territories of up to 600 square miles. Photo #5 by Gary Kramer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wolf as seen at Castel Rigone, Umbria, Italy

Wolf as seen at Castel Rigone, Umbria, Italy. The photographer wrote, “Wolf is the Symbol of Fiery Protection.” Photo #6 by Massimo Valiani

Waiting for Little Red Riding Hood!

The photographer called this “Waiting for Little Red Riding Hood!” Wolves live in packs. The smartest and strongest male of the pack is the “alpha,” the leader. There is also female “alpha” in a pack. A wolf’s nose is so sensitive that it can smell its prey from more than a mile away. Photo #7 by Valerie

We howl

Wolves howl “to assemble the pack (usually before and after hunts), to pass on an alarm (particularly at a den site), to locate each other during a storm or unfamiliar territory and to communicate across great distances. Howling consists of a fundamental frequency which may lie between 150 and 780 Hz, and consists of up to 12 harmonically related overtones. The pitch usually remains constant or varies smoothly, and may change direction as many as four or five times.” Photo #8 by Tambako the Jaguar

Wolf howling on glacial erratic at Little America Flats

Wolf howling on glacial erratic at Little America Flats. If you’d like, you can go hear examples of a wolf’s lonesome howl, a pup’s howl, a confrontational howl, or a chorus of wolves in a spine-tingling howl. In addition to howling, wolves also bark, yap, whine, and growl. On a calm night, a wolf can be heard howling from as far as 120 miles away. While wolves may howl more during the moonlight, they do not howl at the moon. Photo #9 by Jim Peaco

The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus), often known simply as the wolf, is the largest wild member of the Canidae family

Once upon a time, the gray wolf was the world’s most widely distributed mammal, living north of 15°N latitude in North America and 12°N in Eurasia. Photo #10 by Böhringer Friedrich

Red wolf up close and personal

Red wolf up close and personal. Some scientists consider the red wolf to be a wolf/coyote hybrid rather than a unique species. Photo #11 by Valerie

Pile o'wolves, three arctic wolves pups

Pile o’wolves, three arctic wolf pups. The average litter size is 4 – 6 pups which are normally born from April through June. The entire wolf pack takes part in caring for the young. If the mother goes hunting, then another pack member “baby-sits” the wolf pups. Photo #12 by Tambako the Jaguar

Hungry wolf gnawing on a bone. Where's the 3 little pigs?

Where’s the 3 little pigs? Photo #13 by Tambako the Jaguar

Korean wolves mating at the Tama Zoo

It would suck to live in a zoo with no privacy, huh? Mated pairs usually stay together for life, but if one of the wolves dies, instead of howling at the moon, a wolf will quickly find a new mate. Photo #14 by Mariomassone

Black wolf in Lower Post Indian Reserve, British Columbia, CA

This shot was captured in the Lower Post Indian Reserve, British Columbia, CA. The photographer wrote, “Wolf who is making Lower Post part of his territory. It wasn’t shy at all and studied me as I was standing about 3 meters away.” Photo #15 by Bruce McKay

Eastern-Wolf-Canis-lupus-lycaon-in-the-Lüneburg-Heath-wildlife-park-Germany

Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) in the Lüneburg Heath wildlife park, Germany. Photo #16 by Quartl

Wolf trailing a beer at Yellowstone

Wolf trailing a beer at Yellowstone. NPS says of the wolves of Yellowstone, “At the end of 2011, at least 98 wolves in 10 packs (8 breeding pairs), with 2 loners occupied Yellowstone National Park (YNP).” Photo #17 by Doug Smith / NPS

Gray Wolf in snow

Northern Rocky Mountains wolf (gray wolf) in the snow. According to Wikipedia, “This subspecies generally weighs 70–135 pounds (32–61 kg), making it one of the largest subspecies of the gray wolf in existence. It is a lighter colored animal than its southern brethren, the Southern Rocky Mountains Wolf, with a coat that includes far more white and less black. In general, the subspecies favors lighter colors, with black mixing in among them.” Photo #18 by Tracy Brooks / USFWS

Wolf pup

At about 4 weeks old, a wolf pup will leave the den — yet still sticks close by in case of danger. At around 7 – 8 months old, a pup will start running and traveling with the pack, as it learns how to hunt. Photo #19 by Tambako the Jaguar

wolves in Yellowstone circling buffalo

Wolves in Yellowstone circling buffalo. According to YNP, “Project staff detected 343 kills (definite, probable, and possible combined) made by wolves in 2011, including 267 elk (78%), 15 bison (4%), 18 deer (5%), 1 moose (<1%), 2 pronghorn (<1%), 2 bighorn sheep (<1%), 2 badgers (< 1%), 1 jackrabbit (<1%), 14 coyotes (4%), 1 raven (< 1%), 7 wolves (2%), and 13 unknown prey (4%). The composition of elk kills was 27% calves, 3% yearlings, 44% cows, 18% bulls, 3% adults of unknown sex, and 6% of unknown sex and age.Bison kills included 5 calves, 1 yearling, 2 cows, 6 bulls, and 1 unknown sex adult." Photo #20 by Doug Smith / NPS

The predator -- Wolf eyes

The predator — Wolf eyes. Although wolves rarely attack humans, people have long feared the wolf. That fear is woven into folklore, fairy tales, mythology and art which depict wolves as villains. Untold scores of wolves have been ruthlessly hunted, shot, poisoned or trapped because of it. Photo #21 by Scott Flaherty

Big bad wolf and Little Red Riding Hood

Big bad wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, a European fairy tale that has been adapted many times, but was first published in 1697 which goes to show the fear of the wolf goes way back. Upper left: Little Red Riding Hood by Jessie Willcox Smith in 1911; Upper right: Wolf – Timberwolf — noted with “The people are afraid of wolves in wildlife in Germany”; Middle Right: Rare New Jersey Black Wolf. Bottom right: Le petit chaperon rouge & le loup, illustration de Little Red Riding Hood and big bad grandmother wolf as depicted in the 1800s by illustrator by Gustave Doré. Bottom left: Black Wolf – Bow Valley, Banff. Illustration #22 by Jessie Willcox Smith (1863 – 1935), Photo #23 by Malik Braun, #24 by nosha, #25 by Vince O’Sullivan, Illustration #26 by Gustave Doré (1832-1883)

An-Eurasian-wolf-Canis-lupus-lupus-—-gray-wolf-an-example-of-the-‘northern’-wolf-clade

An Eurasian (gray) wolf is a large-sized, large-brained carnivore. This is “an example of the ‘northern’ wolf clade” which inhabits North America, Europe and northern Asia. Photo #27 by Gunnar Ries Amphibol

Dakota, a grey wolf at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, howling on top of a snowy hill

Dakota, a grey wolf at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, howling on top of a snowy hill. Photo #28 by Retron

Iberian Wolves

Iberian Wolves. The photographer explained, “In the image we can clearly see the white stripes in the snouts and the black marks in the front legs, two of the characteristics of the sub” species of Canis lupus. Photo #29 by Juan José González Vega

A wolf nurses her pups outside their den

A wolf nurses her pups outside their den at Yellowstone National Park. Photo #30 by Doug Smith / NPS

Brown Bear and Wolf (Canis lupus) in Juraparc, Vallorbe, Vaud, Switzerland

Wolf (Canis lupus) trailing a brown Bear in Juraparc, Vallorbe, Vaud, Switzerland. Photo #31 by Micha L. Rieser

Momma wolf with pups

Momma wolf with pups. Defenders of Wildlife writes, “Pups are born blind and defenseless. The pack cares for the pups until they mature at about 10 months of age.” Photo #32 by Golo

Yellowstone National Park -- The Agate wolf pack is in a stand off with a bull elk

Yellowstone National Park — The Agate wolf pack is in a stand off with a bull elk. When in packs, wolves generally hunt large, hoofed animals including moose, white-tailed deer, mule deer, caribou, elk, bison, and mountain goats. Photo #33 by Doug Smith NPS

Gray wolves and bones -- My, what big teeth you have

Gray wolves and bones. The photographer noted, “My, what big teeth you have!” Photo #34 by Steve Jurvetson

Eurasian-wolf-Canis-lupus-lupus-at-Kolmården-Sweden

“The better to eat you with, my dear,” said grandmother wolf. Eurasian wolf at Kolmården, Sweden. It is thought that European Wolves evolved around 150,000 years ago, which is about the same time as wolves in North American. A gray wolf usually weighs between 60 and 135 pounds (27 and 60 kilograms). Photo #35 by Daniel Mott

Arctic Wolf at Lakota Wolf Preserve, Columbia , NJ USA

Arctic Wolf at Lakota Wolf Preserve, Columbia , NJ, USA. The arctic wolf is considered to be a medium-sized wolf. Photo #36 by RickyNJ

Wolf (Canis lupus) in Juraparc, Vallorbe, Vaud, Switzerland

Wild wolves in Juraparc, Vallorbe, Vaud, Switzerland. Photo #37 by Micha L. Rieser

An Arabian wolf in a defensive posture

This small “desert adapted” Arabian wolf is in a defensive posture. Aggressive or self-assertive wolves are characterised by slow, deliberate movements as well as high body posture and raised hackles. Photo #38 by Amos Hachmon

Face to Face Lycans about to fight?

Face to Face — Lycans about to fight? Since ancient Greek mythology, humans have feared werewolves, Lycans. It has been suggested that werewolves were used to explain serial killings. Photo #39 by Valerie (ucumari)

Werewolves - Rise of the Lycans - wolves long feared & weaved into fairy tales and folklore

Told in tales of Greek mythology, written tales of Lycaon were recorded in 2 BC. Top right: 1858 Lithography of George Sand’s rustic Legend, Paris, Library of Decorative Arts. Bottom right: Werewolf gargoyle of Notre-Dame Cathedral of the Annunciation of Moulins. Photo #40 by Wolfgirlmichelle, 1858 Illustration #41 by Paris, bibli.des Arts décoratifs, Illustration #42 by Rodrigo Ferrarezi, Photo #43 by Vassil

white wolf in the wild

The photographer snapped this “White wolf in the wild.” Photo #44 by Shannon Kringen

Wolf Resting in Front of Den

Wolf Resting in Front of Den. At around one month old, pups emerge from the den. When a gray wolf pup is born, it only weighs about one pound. Photo #45 by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge

Big wolf hug

Awww, big wolf hug at the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. Photo #46 by Sander van der Wel

Wolves of Yellowstone dug in and bedded down in the snowy forest

Wolves of Yellowstone dug in and bedded down in the snowy forest. Photo #47 by Doug Smith / NPS

wolf tracks in sand, lone wolf in the wild flowers

Wolves have huge paws, so an adult could have a paw print of about 5 inches long by 4 inches wide (13 centimeters long x 10 centimeters wide). Here are wolf tracks in the sand and a lone wolf in the wild flowers. Photo #48 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Photo #49 by Bierre

North Pole wolf Brutus Howling

North Pole, a wolf called “Brutus” is howling: Brutus, a wolf being studied by USGS scientists who note, he “separates from his pack mates and appears to be heading back to the den. He stops at the head of the fiord and howls for 2-3 minutes. The scientists track his progress with binoculars past the river where they cannot go. They suspect that his mate has returned to the den, and that Brutus will join her there.” Photo #50 by Environment and Natural Resources Government of the Northwest Territories / USGS

Brutus the North Pole Wolf -- Mother carries errant pup back to den

Brutus the North Pole Wolf — Mother carries errant pup back to den. Photo #51 by David Mech / USGS

Scary vicious and she-wolf

Top left: From Norse mythology, Tyr and Fenrir illustrated in 1911 for Our Fathers’ Godsaga. Top right: Scary Raven at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. The photographer wrote, “Remember, this is the same animal who goes out into the public to meet children. Raven is wonderful with the public, but with the other animals at the sanctuary, he is still a wolf.” Bottom left: Brussels statue of She-wolf feeding Romulus and Remus from mythology.1911 Illustration #52 by John Bauer / Viktor Rydberg, Photo #53 by Allison Bailey, #54 by Missvain

The Kill, 2 wolves chowing down on what used to be a deer

The Kill: Two wolves chowing down on what used to be a deer. Did you know: “You stand a better chance of being struck by lightning than being killed by a wolf.” Photo #55 by Patrick Bell

big, bad, beautiful snarling wolf

Long live the big, bad, beautiful, snarling wolf. The Defenders of Wildlife state, “There are an estimated 7,000 to 11,200 gray wolves in Alaska and more than 5,000 in the lower 48 states. Around the world there are an estimated 200,000 in 57 countries, compared to up to 2 million in earlier times.” Photo #56 by Mind Virus via reddit


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