Last Reviewed and Updated on January 21, 2023
Found in the Arctic regions of North America, arctic wolves are well adapted to living in their cold habitats. Due to their habitat location and fur color, they are often called the polar wolf or the white wolf. Want to learn more about these wonderful animals? Read on and learn some of the most interesting facts about arctic wolves.
About Arctic Wolves
Arctic wolves are found in the Arctic tundra of North America. They are also known as the Arctic white wolf, polar wolf, or white wolf. These wolves live in extremely cold and harsh conditions.
Arctic wolves are larger than gray wolves and are usually white. Their thick fur keeps them warm in the cold Arctic temperatures. Their paws have a thick layer of fur that helps them walk on snow and ice.
Like other wolves, arctic wolves are carnivorous.
Facts About Arctic Wolves
Read through these facts about arctic wolves and learn what makes this species of the animal so extraordinary.
1. Arctic wolves are a subspecies of the gray wolf
They are one of the 38 subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus).
2. Arctic wolves are relatively unafraid of humans
They can approach humans with caution and curiosity, most likely because they don’t have much interaction with humans in general. Compared to other wolves, they are less scared of humans.
Attacks on humans are rare but can happen.
3. It is the only subspecies of gray wolf that humans do not directly threaten
As this subspecies is isolated from humans, their original habitat range has stayed almost the same over time. They are not threatened by hunting or by humans destroying their habitat. This is not the case when it comes to other subspecies of gray wolves.
Climate change does pose a significant threat to this subspecies.
4. The migration of arctic wolves is a mystery
The harsh climate of their habitat makes research hard, and the fact that these wolves migrate during the wintertime when there is darkness for 24 hours per day makes it even harder. Not much is known about their migration.
5. Muskoxen and arctic hares are their food of choice
They primarily hunt muskoxen and Arctic hares but will also hunt other animals. Arctic wolves have been observed hunting lemmings, caribou, Arctic foxes, birds, and beetles.
They can also be opportunistic and will scavenge through garbage.
6. They are capable of living in total darkness for months
Living in a harsh and cold environment is one thing, and an impressive one. Arctic wolves take it a step further as they have no issues living in total darkness through the polar nights.
7. They have the smallest ears among wolves, proportionally
This is an adaptation to their harsh cold environment, as smaller ears mean less surface area from which they could lose heat. They do have excellent hearing.
8. They live in packs
As with other wolves, the arctic wolf lives in packs as well. There are usually anywhere from four to ten animals in a pack.
9. Usually, only the alpha male and alpha female mate
The alpha pair lead wolf packs; usually, these two are the only wolves in the pack that mate. When it comes to larger packs other pack members might mate as well.
10. Arctic wolves can be white, black, or gray
Most commonly, arctic wolves are white but can also be black or gray.
11. Pups have blue eyes that turn yellow as they age
However, a small percentage of arctic wolves also have blue eyes as adults.