Why Do Wolves Howl? Curious Animal Communication Facts For Kids! | Kidadl


Why Do Wolves Howl? Curious Animal Communication Facts For Kids!

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It's often assumed that wolves howl during a full moon, but that's a widespread myth, and there's no evidence linking howling to lunar phases.

Although the probability of wolves howling is still high at night than in day time, since they are nocturnal animals. They move and hunt as soon as the sun goes down and sleep later in the day.

If someone asked you about wolf vocalizations, we bet the howl invariably springs to your mind. Their language involves every possible sound, and their vocalizations are not just restricted to howling, but even when they growl, snarl, yelp, whine, bark, woof, or even moan. Although what we hear is mostly the howling.

A wolf pack formation is possible because wolves are highly social creatures. Just like a human enjoys social interaction, animals have their own way figured out to socialize, and a wolf is no different! Their family and friends are all in their pack. The pack is lead by an alpha. The alpha is the whole and sole authority that decides the territory in which the wolves live and hunt. In fact, did you know that the alpha and his mate are the first ones to eat the food amongst the pack? Hierarchy and discipline are strictly followed within the wolves, you can say.

Don't stop here! Try reading our other articles on why do dogs chase their tails? And why do woodpeckers peck wood? Once you finish with this one to get more insights into the beautiful world of the wild.

Why do wolves howl at the moon?

You and we all talk to communicate our thoughts and feelings, right? Well, so do wolves. Wolves howl to communicate with other wolves of their pack.

Howling is the wolf's sole way to directly communicate across long distances, especially in areas of vast wolf territories. A howl is a multipurpose language to communicate important things such as warnings about predators, the position of prey, and a wolf's location. In fact, there could be many other reasons pertaining to their behavior than we will ever know! At times their howling may come across to be similar to a dog barking as both dogs and wolves are related species. In fact, dogs can even understand the wolf howls! However, their howling is not restricted to day or night, or when there's a full moon, they could have their howling choruses with their respective packs anytime, often to strengthen their bonds within the members of the pack. Warning their predators or warn other wolves to stay away from their territory are other common reasons wolves are known to howl. Interestingly, amidst denning season no howling is heard from these species because the wolves want to protect their pups. Howling would give away the location of these pups, which would put their life at risk; hence this is the only time frame where you would not hear howling from these gray wild animals.

Wolves howling when they are sad is rather a myth because no one really knows if they are sad but what most people deduce is that howl sounding like crying is most probably a lone wolf crying out help to find its way back home. These animals are also known to howl after a kill to warn other wolves to stay away from their kill site. Another reason is to reassemble the pack after the kill to feed on their prey. Another kind of wolf called the Red wolf also howls which it uses as a means of communication. Apart from howling, they also communicate through their body language such as scent marking and various other vocalizations.

Discussion about wolves without including the moon would seem incomplete but readers, we are sorry to burst your bubble as wolves howling at the moon is a myth that exists only in horror movies! Wolf howl at night, but it has nothing to do with its connected behavior to the moon. It could be so that in ancient times whenever humans saw a wolf howling at night, it was during a full moon but apart from that, the wolf and moon have no relation whatsoever. The howls heard from wolf packs at night often indicate their hail to hunt or if the pack is missing a wolf. In the latter case, the wolf uses a unique lonesome howl, a shortened wolf call that's risen in pitch, and did you know these wolf howls can be heard to their pack members from a distance of six to seven miles (10-11 km). This howl indicates the wolves group about its location.

Why do wolves howl at night?

Wolf sounds are quite evident during the night; most of us would agree to this, but why is it so? Well, wolf's favorite time to howl start from the quiet hours of dusk till its pitch dark during the night, as simple as that! Evening 7 p.m. to midnight is when they specifically like to howl, depending on the geographic locations. The communication between the wolves and their packs continues throughout the day; it's just that we humans tend to be quieter at night that makes us hear their howls more clearly during night.

These wild species howl during dawn, afternoon, and pretty much any other time, too but do you have time to listen to their howling at 4 a.m. or 2 p.m.? Pretty sure not! Sending long-distance messages to other members of the pack or even talking to another wolf right next to it, wolves howl for any of it. Territorial claim, a friendly call to fellow wolves, finding a mate during chilling winters, or gathering pack mates for hunting, wolves are found doing most of these activities at night, which makes them howl then. In fact, did you know that each member of the pack has its own distinctive voice? Just like how all of us have various pitched voices. Wolf howling does not characterize any of their behavior, but it is known that these animals advertise their pack in their howl, so cool, right?

Why do wolves howl together?

Howling of white wolf in the forest

Howling together also keeps the wolf's mate physically together. Often during hunting, when one of the wolves is separated from the pack, howling is the only way to get reunited with the group. Since each member has a characteristic howl, it becomes easier for the pack to locate them. The wolves even give a response from their respective pack to the lost wolf by howling together. The best part is that the sound of these howls is capable of traveling miles due to its low pitch and long duration, which works well in forests and tundra.

A pack that howls together stays together, a popular yet practical fact about these furry gray animals. The reason being, a wolf's universe is its pack. They live, play, and hunt with their packs, and howling is the glue that bonds and keeps the pack together. Social interaction between the packmates increases when they howl together. Funnily there may be situations where chorus howls result in nasty quarrels between the pack's members, with lower-ranking wolves getting punished by the alpha.

Why do wolves howl before a hunt?

Wolves also howl before their hunt, and its a different kind of howl. How? Well, this howl is inclined towards an excited and social howl that bonds the pack members prior to hunting other animals. When the wolves return from their hunt, the ones that stayed behind rush in to greet them, and the sound of post-hunt celebration howling can be heard.

To be precise, the before-hunt howl is a culmination of sheer joy and enthusiasm as the pack gathers to hunt. It celebrates their friendship, togetherness, and pleasure, quite an emotion-packed moment, you can say. Wolves that are resting even get up and begin romping with their tails wagging while they press and sniff their packmates. They then howl together with other wolves. Remember that wolves are not known to howl to initiate a chase; it is rather the silent killer during hunting.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do wolves howl? Curious animal communication facts for kids! Then why not take a look at why do bats sleep upside down? Learn amazing facts about bats, or why do dogs shake their heads? Cool pet dog facts that kids will love.

Written By
Deepthi Reddy

<p>With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.</p>

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