ARIZONA HYBRID ASSOCIATION - WOLF CUB GROWTH TO MATURATION
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WOLF CUB GROWTH TO MATURATION




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estn timber mwlfWolf Puppy Physical and social development



Christina Merkl

– 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.


NEONATAL PERIOD:

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.  They 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.  They 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

weeks.



TRANSITIONAL PERIOD: EYE OPENING TO  12+DAYS


olf pup 8The eyes open and are Blue at 11-15 days but they ARE not fully developed and pups cannot perceive forms until weeks later.   The milk incisors are present at 15 days; they can eat small pieces of regurgitated meat.  They begin to stands and walk; vocalizations include growls, whimpering and squeaks, first high pitch attempts at howling are started .  Weight: 3.5 pounds


wolf pup 2



SOCIALIZATION PERIOD: 20-24 DAYS TO 77 DAYS

     Pups/cubs begin appearing outside of the den and playing near the entrance       Ears begin to raise around 27 days and hearing improves significantly. 



  

wolf pup 10

  Around 31 days the ears are erect but with the tips still flopping.  Canines and premolar teeth present.  Disproportionately large feet and head.   Short, high-pitched howls gain strength.   Mother may go off for hours on end to hunt.      

wolf pup 3

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  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.


 

ten wage wolfAT 8-16 WEEKS:


        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






Pups will gain approximately 1.3

pounds per week over the next three months.  Weight 28-70 pounds.  Milk teeth replaced. Winter fur becomes




baby wolf teethwolf pup 5apparent and pup appearance is nearly indistinguishable from adults.  Pups begin to accompany adults on hunts.


 

estern timberPERIOD OF SLOW GROWTH; 27-51 WEEKS


       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

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SEXUAL MATURITY: 1-3 YEARS


        Hormonal changes signal sexual maturity.  May choose to disperse from pack.  Weight 60-100 plus pounds



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