Long considered a danger to livestock and painted to be dangerous creatures in mythology and literature, wolves have been trapped and hunted almost to extinction throughout the world. Loss of habitat drove them to more remote areas, where they went unseen. Surprisingly, the wolf population has thrived in some areas, and thanks to human intervention, it has even made a comeback in places it had been thought to be extinct. The largest member of the canid family, wolves average about 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh about 65 pounds. There are many subspecies of wolves with significant differences seen in body size, fur color and size of the skull. Wolves live in packs, which vary in size depending on available prey. They are social animals; each pack is led by a mating pair and an assortment of both of related and unrelated individuals. The pack works together to hunt and to protect their kills from other animals within a given territory that ranges from 20 to square miles. They eat animals both large and small and can go a week without eating. When their meals are infrequent, each wolf can eat up to 20 pounds at one time. Their choice of habitat depends on the amount of available prey as well as the amount of wild space.
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