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About: Wolf Development

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About: Wolf Development

Post by Robin on July 7th 2018, 7:28 pm



I have always gotten questions on how a wolf pup should look at at a certain age. How large they should be, when do they eat meat, can they leave the camp, etc... so I thought I could make this.

I find myself bored, so please enjoy this explanation on wolf age and size with pictures + descriptions to help out with how you visualize a character in role-play. Keep in mind that this is a guide using the Grey/Timber wolf. I am not entirely sure if other species of wolves, such as the Eurasian, have the same development cycles.



Four to six pups are the average for wolf mothers, but two to three pups are also common. Wolf pups are born blind, deaf, and unable to regulate body temperature. They only weigh about 1 pound at birth, and rely on their mother for nourishment. For this reason a mother will rarely leave the den. If she had to leave, such as to get food or water, then other wolves from the pack would watch over the pups till she returns. Newborns will consume only their mothers milk at first. Her milk, or more appropriately called colostrum, contains antibodies. These antibodies are very important to the pup. This bacteria will protect the newborn from disease and illness.  

They grow rather quickly. About 12 to 15 days after they are born, they open their eyes. By two weeks of age, the pups can walk, and about a week after that, they may come out of the den for the first time.

Did you know?

Most wolf pups are born with blue eyes, which gradually change to a yellow-gold color as they mature!

Mothers must stimulate their pups to defecate/urinate by licking their genital areas. Mothers will also eat the excretions of her pups. This keeps the den nice and clean.~

Newborns must nurse every 4 to 6 hours.

3 Weeks

Here is the age where the wolf pups are ready to see their world for the first time.  Well perhaps not ready quite yet. At this age the pups can walk, see, and hear, so it is only natural that curiosity gets the best of them. Pups will begin to explore the den, and may accidentally- or purposely~, find their way out to the real world. Good thing mother or father is always watching them and shoving them back down to safety!

This is also a time where the pups milk teeth come in. These teeth will enable the young wolves to eat regurgitated meat from their mother. They will weigh about 7 pounds at this age.

Did you know?

Pup mortality ranges from 30% to 60%. Pups die from diseases, malnutrition and starvation.

Predators such as eagles, coyotes, and bears all prey upon wolf pups. A pup wandering outside in the open with no adult would make an easy meal.

4-6 weeks

Wolf pups are now allowed to take shot trips outside the den. At this time, all members of the pack will watch and guard the pups. They will keep constant look out for any predators. The mother may now leave to go hunting for a few hours. Pups can also now go up to other wolves and lick at their muzzle. This will cause the older wolf to spit up meat for the pup to eat (yum).  

Play-fighting begins at this age. This play can determine who will be the most dominant or submissive later in life. Their play also practices hunting and fighting skills.

At five to six weeks pups will begin the gradual process of weaning. They may also move up to a mile away from the den accompanied by an adult.

8-10 Weeks

This is an important time in the young pups life. This is when pups are weaned, and will eat the food provided for them by adults. They will also move to the rendezvous site, which is a place where wolves gather to sleep, play, or just hang out! An adult wolf will usually stay behind to watch the pups while the rest of the pack goes out hunting.

Adult hair will also begin to appear on the pups body, and their eyes will slowly change from blue to gold.

Did you Know?

Occasionally, an adult wolf can be found with blue eyes.

12 Weeks (Juvenile Period)

Pups will begin to follow adult wolves on hunting trips for a short while. They will not yet hunt at this age, but instead go to observe and learn. They may return to the rendezvous site on their own.

The juveniles will now weigh around 22 to 30 pounds.

3.5 Months (14-27 weeks)

Also known as the period of rapid growth. Wolf pups will gain 1.3 pounds per week for the next three months!

4-6 Months

Pups are now almost indistinguishable from adults. Their milk teeth are replaced and winter fur becomes apparent.

They will now accompany adults on hunting trips.

7-8 Months

Begin to actively hunt within pack. This is also known as the period of slow growth, as the young wolves will only gai
n .5 pounds a week.

1 Year

Now weighing 60-100 pounds, this marks the end of a wolf's growth period. The epiphyseal cartilage closes off, signaling the end of skeletal growth.

The pups status in the pack will start to show with the younger pups in the pack, displaying either more dominant or submissive behavior.

1-3 Years

The wolf now reaches sexual maturity signaled by hormonal changes. They may chose to disperse from the pack to find a mate and start a new pack at this time. Wolves will weigh 60-100+ pounds.

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