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 Wolf Pack Hierarchy and Behaviors

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PostSubject: Wolf Pack Hierarchy and Behaviors   Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:54 am

Here is where you can get a brief look at what wolf dominance and behavior in a pack is like. However, it is not limited to what you see here. PLEASE feel free to do your own research to further your understanding of wolf behaviors!!!

Typical Pack Hierarchy

>> First of all, wolves are SOCIAL CREATURES! They live in groups called Packs. They are known to hunt, live, and survive in these packs together, with a complex and important organization called a hierarchy.
>> Also, a pack can consist of anywhere between 4 and 40 wolves, depending on the size of the territory and the prey within it.
>> The center of a pack is generally a mated pair (the alpha pair) that has produced offspring.
>> Typically, the other members of the pack are the offspring of the mated pair. (however, in Incendio, this is not always the case - as in the role-play other outside wolves are accepted as members)
>> See the Incendio Forum Rules for a list of the pack ranks and hierarchy here.

Dominance:

A wolf will show dominance in order to assert it's authority over a lower ranking wolf. This is common of the alpha pair, as well as the other high-ranking wolves within a pack. The video below is an example of a display of dominance towards a lower ranking wolf...



**Note, showing dominance does NOT always (if ever) mean harming a lower ranking wolf. Wolves will rarely severely harm another member to show dominance unless challenged, even when considering the omega wolf (or lowest ranking wolf in the pack)
**Note, The mounting in this video is not sexual, but is a display of dominance, or an assertion of authority.

Dominance is often shown through growling or other vocal displays of power, as well as through raised ears, tails, as well as physical force, as seen above.

Submission:

Submission is a display often made by lower ranking wolves within a pack. It is a show of respect and acceptance of a higher ranking wolf's dominance. This is shown by all members of the pack with the exception of the alpha pair. However, this submission goes down the line, with betas submitting to alphas, and so on from there. Below is a video example of a lower ranking wolf submitting to a higher ranking wolf...



**Note: This video is of a female wolf - black wolf - submitting to a male wolf, with the male wolf asserting his dominance as well.

This next video is of a young wolf showing submission to his father - a higher ranking wolf (likely the alpha of this pack)



Typically, submissive behavior includes (but is not limited to): Whines, lowering of body/crouching to the ground, Rolling over onto back, tail tucked under body, lowered ears, licking the chin of a higher ranking wolf, etc.

Communication:

Wolves communicate in a number of ways, two of which are vocal sounds and body language. In the Dominance and Submission sections above the body language is explained a bit, though vocal sounds (such as whines, barks, and growls, etc) play a very important role in a pack as well.

Body Language:
>> "Wolves convey much with their bodies. If they are angry, they may stick their ears straight up and bare their teeth. A wolf who is suspicious pulls its ears back and squints. Fear is often shown by flattening the ears against the head. A wolf who wants to play dances and bows playfully." (International Wolf Center)

Smell:
>> "Wolves have a very good sense of smell about 100 times greater than humans. They use this sense for communication in a variety of ways. Wolves mark their territories with urine and scats, a behavior called scent-marking. When wolves from outside of the pack smell these scents, they know that an area is already occupied. It is likely that pack members can recognize the identity of a packmate by its urine, which is useful when entering a new territory or when packmembers become separated. Dominant animals may scent mark through urination every two minutes. When they do so they raise a leg, this dominant posture utilizes multiple forms of communication and is called a "Raised Leg Urination" or RLU. Wolves will also use urine to scent mark food caches that have been exhausted. By marking an empty cache, the animal will not waste time digging for food that isn't there.

Wolves use their sense of smell to communicate through chemical messages. These chemical messages between members of the same species are known as "pherimones." Sources of pherimones in wolves include glands on the toes, tail, eyes, anus, genitalia and skin. For example, a male is able to identify a female in estrus by compounds (pherimones) present in her urine and copulation will only be attempted during this time.

Of course, their sense of smell also tells them when food or enemies are near." (International Wolf Center)

The Howl:
>> In order to avoid having to type everything out here and make this thread horribly long, here is a VERY good and descriptive site that lists information on wolf howls...
Wolf Howls



Barking:
>> "Barking is used as a warning. A mother may bark to her pups because she senses danger, or a bark or bark-howl may be used to show aggression in defense of the pack or territory." (International Wolf Center)

Whimpering:
>> "Whimpering may be used by a mother to indicate her willingness to nurse her young. It is also used to indicate "I give up" if they are in a submissive position and another wolf is dominating them." (International Wolf Center)

Growling:
>> "Growling is used as a warning. A wolf may growl at intruding wolves or predators, or to indicate dominance." (International Wolf Center)



Wolf Sounds:


SOURCES:
>> International Wolf Center: http://www.wolf.org/wolves/learn/basic/biology/communication.asp
>> Wolf Web: http://www.wolfweb.com/facts-pack.html
>> Wolfsa: http://www.wolfsa.org.za/content_behaviour.htm

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