Wolf pups are born!

At this time of year, just when the bears are beginning to emerge from their dens, the coastal gray wolves (or at least the pregnant females of the species) are in the process of seeking one out. This den is not to be used for hibernation; rather it is to be used for birthing a new generation of pups. Typically, the birthing den consists of a tunnel up to 15 feet long that leads up to a small chamber. The male is permitted into the den until just prior to and a few days after the birth. The birth is a private experience, shared by mother and pups alone. But Dad still has an important job to do! Once banned from the den, he spends his time vigorously protecting the entrance to the den from any invaders.

Typically, litter sizes consist of 4 or 5 pups that are between 8 and 13 inches in length, and weigh from 12-16 oz. Small to start, the pups grow rapidly though, spending their first few weeks nursing 4-5 times a day. During this time, the other wolves care for the mother, bringing her food to fuel her nursing efforts.

Check back next month for another interesting wildlife fact.