The Ultimate Wolf Quiz

By: Monica Lee

Why did the Vikings drink wolf blood and wear wolf skins to go into battle?

The Vikings wore wolf skins and drank wolf blood to take on the wolf’s spirit in battle. They also viewed real wolves as battle companions.

If you're camping in Alaska and look out into the darkness you may see yellow eyes staring back at you. What color are wolf pups eyes at birth?

Pups have baby-blue eyes at birth which change to yellow when they are eight months old.

What causes a wolf's eyes to glow in the dark?

A light-reflecting layer on a wolf’s eye causes a wolf’s eyes to glow in the dark and may also facilitate night vision.

Think about a wolf paw print. How does a wolf run?

Wolves run on their toes, which helps them to stop and turn quickly and to prevent their paw pads from wearing down.

What is a wolf's greatest sense?

A wolf can smell you and other animals more than a mile away. While humans have about 5 million scent cells, wolves have 40 times as many, with about 200 million scent cells.

The smelling ability is so crucial, pups are born with it fully intact, but what sense do the pups lack?

They need to smell the mother's milk and taste it to survive. However, they apparently don't need (as they are not born with) the ability to see or hear. They only weigh about one pound at birth.

Although the sense of smell is the most highly developed in wolves, what other sense is superior?

Crunch a tree branch underfoot, and a wolf can hear it as far as six miles away in the forest and ten miles on the open tundra, under certain conditions of course.

A dog's jaw can exert 750 PSI. Do you know how powerful a wolf's jaw is?

The business end of the wolf, its jaw, is powerful with crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pounds per square inch. Their jaw contains 42 teeth specialized for stabbing, shearing, and crunching bones.

If you're as hungry as a wolf, how much food can you typically eat?

A hungry wolf can eat 20 pounds of meat in a single meal. Just think about how one pound of hamburger meat can make five burgers. So 20 pounds is like you're sitting down to a meal of one hundred burgers.

If you're being chased by a wolf and jump into the lake and start swimming, are you safe?

Wolves can not only swim, they can swim greater distances than normal people – up to 8 miles! They have small webs between their toes making it easier to stay afloat.

Here are 3 lies and a truth about wolves. Which of these is true?

Unlike other animals, wolves have a variety of facial expressions they use to communicate and maintain order and unity within the pack.

Wolf packs can range from a minimum of 2 wolves up to how many?

A normal wolf pack has a mom, dad, and offspring. However, a pack can also be as big as 20 to 30 wolves.

How fast can a wolf run?

A wolf can run about 20 miles per hour, and up to 40 miles per hour when chasing prey. However they can only maintain that speed for a minute or two. When they ease up to 5 mph, they can “dog trot” all day at this speed.

When it comes to mating, the male and female wolf do what?

The wolf pack has strong family bonds. Once the male and female mate they usually stay together for life, forming their own pack. They are devoted parents.

How do wolves communicate?

Since wolves hunt together in packs, raise their young, and protect their territory, they need various ways to communicate. They do more than howl, they whimper and whine, growl and bark, yelp and snarl.

In addition to "talking", wolves add another layer of communication. What is it?

Wolves communicate through body language and through scent to convey messages to other pack members and other packs that pass through its territory.

One wolf approaches another wolf with its head and tail held high and ears perked up. What might this mean?

This posture is usually displayed when one wolf is confidently approaching another wolf. However if the wolf approaches in a slinking manner, with its body lowered, tail between its legs, and ears flattened, it is scared of the other wolf.

If a wolf puppy lowers the front of its body while its rump stays up in the air with its tail wagging, what is it communicating?

This "play" position is similar to a display by dogs. However, if a wolf furrows its forehead, shows its fangs, or growls, it so communicating that it is angry.

How long does a wolf pup stay with its parents?

Young wolves stay in their parents' pack for at least two years before some of them take off to join other packs or to start their own.

Is it an old wives tale or do wolves really howl at the moon?

There is a rational reason behind this old wives tale. Although wolves don’t howl at the moon, wolves howl more when the moon is full and bright.

What is the howl of a wolf conveying?

A wolves' howl is used as a way to call to another pack or to warn of danger. Wolves also howl to contact separated members of their group and to rally the group before hunting.

How often do wolves have liters?

Although a female is only pregnant for 62 to 75 days, they are only able to conceive once a year. Thus, only one litter of pups are born each spring.

What's an average-sized liter?

An average litter size for gray and red wolves is 4 to 6 pups, but sometimes fewer pups are born if food is scarce and sometimes more are born if prey is abundant.

Which of these is a family dynamic you would see among wolves?

The siblings that are the same age play with each other, while the older wolf siblings care for their younger brothers and sisters by finding them food.

What animal are wolves closely related to?

Genetically, wolves and dogs are 98.8 percent identical. The Afghan Hound, one of the oldest domestic breeds, and the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky both have wolf-like appearances. These dogs and a few other breeds are the most closely related.

What's the life span of an average wolf?

We wish these majestic creatures lived longer, but the average life span is 6 to 8 years. Some wolves can breed as young as age 2, whereas other wolves do not breed until 4 or 5 years of age. For those late bloomers, they may only have one litter of pups in their lifetime.

What do wolves eat?

Wolves' favorite prey is hoofed animals such as deer, elk, moose, caribou and bison. Since many of these animals are larger than wolves, the only way wolves can catch them is to coordinate their pack to hunt them.

If big game animals are scarce, what will wolves resort to eating?

When you're hungry, you can't be picky. So small game like rabbits or even salmon will do. Depending on the amount of food available, wolves will even eat earthworms, berries and grasshoppers!

A wolf can eat 20 lbs of meat at a sitting. How long can it go without food?

Their meals can last! An adult can go 12 days -- sometimes more -- without food. Did you know that wolves also eat grass when their stomach is upset, much like a dog?

What kind of wolf trap do they use in India?

In India, simple wolf traps are still used. These traps consist of a simple pit, disguised with branches or leaves. The wolves fall in and people then stone them to death.

What animal kills wolves?

Wolves aren't specifically hunted by anything other than people. However there are animals that pose threats to them, such as mountain lions, which can prey on small wolf pups. But no animal, except humans, specifically prey on them.

Ever wondered how long a wolf can howl for? Take your best guess from the options below.

Each wolf howls for only about five seconds, but howls can seem much longer when the entire pack joins in. A lone wolf will howl to attract mates or just because he is alone.

When a wolf kills his meal, which bird tries to steal some of it?

Where there are wolves, there are often ravens. These aggravating birds try to grab some of the kill by diving at the wolves or pecking at their tails so the wolf will chase them and leave the kill.

The ancient Greeks believed that if someone ate meat from a wolf-killed lamb, they might become a __________.

Most people would think the answer is werewolf or a wolf, but the answer is vampire. This may be because the idea of a werewolf came later in Greek folklore.

If the largest wolf can weigh 175 pounds, how light is the smallest adult wolf?

The smallest wolves live in the Middle East, where they may weigh only 30 pounds. The largest wolves are found in Canada, Alaska, and the Soviet Union, where they can reach up to 175 pounds.

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Image: Copyright Michael Cummings/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Wolves have been a part of our lives since the Stone Age (European Middle Paleolithic). In fact, the earliest drawings of wolves are in caves in southern Europe and date back to 20,000 B.C. These carnivorous canines have been with us through the ages and live most everywhere that man inhabits. Wolves were once the most widely dispersed land predators in the world. The only places they didn’t thrive were in the driest deserts and rain forests. Unfortunately they are no longer as widely found. 

The North American gray wolf population in the 17th Century was approximately 2 million wolves. Sadly, today the population in North America is approximately 65,000 with the world population approximately 150,000 wolves. Hunted for pelts, they have been virtually eliminated in many countries. Interestingly enough, the wolf is both feared and revered. The Japanese word for wolf means “great god".

The wolf is such a physically amazing, highly evolved and sophisticated creature. It communicates in much the same ways we do: through vocalization, body language, facial expressions and scents. Their packs have a social hierarchy where rearing young is important and mates stay together for life. Find out more about these majestic beasts by taking this quiz now. You're sure to get a high score worth howling about.

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