– AHA Wolf Education Programs Coordinator
Wolves live in many diverse and changing environments. The preparation and care of pups is fairly consistent around the world as is pup development. The following timeline provides information on the development of various physical and behavioral tools that wolves have for survival.
Birth to eyes open
(12-14 days) and period of most growth: Have
dark fur, rounded heads and are unable
to self-regulate their body temperature. They
are blind and deaf; have small ears, and a “pugged” nose with hardly any sense
of smell. They can however taste and touch very well.
are limited to a very slow crawl, mainly with their front legs but they have a good
sense of balance at their young age. They
can suck and lick only and can whine and yelp.
will feed 4-5 times a day for lengths of 3 to 5 minutes. The
females gain an average of 2.6 pounds and males gain an average of 3.3 pounds
per week for the next 14
TRANSITIONAL PERIOD: EYE OPENING TO 12+DAYS
The eyes open and are Blue at 11-15 days but they ARE not fully developed and pups
cannot perceive forms until weeks later.
milk incisors are present at 15 days; they can eat small pieces of regurgitated
begin to stands and walk; vocalizations include growls, whimpering and squeaks,
first high pitch attempts at howling are started . Weight:
SOCIALIZATION PERIOD: 20-24 DAYS TO
appearing outside of the den and playing near the entrance
begin to raise around 27 days and hearing improves significantly.
31 days the ears are erect but with the tips still flopping.
and premolar teeth present. Disproportionately
large feet and head.
high-pitched howls gain strength.
may go off for hours on end to hunt.
Dominance and play fighting begin. Gradual process of weaning begins. Can follow adults up to a mile away from the den.
JUVENILE PERIOD: 12 WEEKS TO SEXUAL MATURITY (1-3 YEARS)AT 8-10 WEEKS:
Adults abandon den and move pups to rendezvous site. Weaning complete, pups feed on food provided by adults. Adult guard hairs become apparent on body.
Eyes gradually change from Blue to Yellow Gold. Pups begin to follow adults on hunting trips for a short while and return to the den by themselves. Weight: 22-30 pounds.
PERIOD OF RAPID GROWTH 14-27 WEEKS
will gain approximately 1.3
pounds per week over the next three months. Weight
28-70 pounds. Milk
teeth replaced. Winter
Female pups will gain approximately 0.7 pounds per week and male pups will gain approximately 4 pounds per week. Pups begin to travel with pack. Begin actively hunting. Epiphyseal cartilage closes off signaling the end of skeletal growth. Pups status in the pack may start to take shape with pups displaying either more dominant or submissive behaviors. Weight 60-100 pounds
SEXUAL MATURITY: 1-3 YEARS
Hormonal changes signal sexual maturity. May choose to disperse from pack. Weight 60-100 plus pounds