Length without tail: 100-150 cm. Height: 65-100 cm. Weight: 100 kg, females less. Life expectancy: about 7 years. Related subspecies: the European wolf and the Japanese wolf.
Polar wolves inhabit one of the most barren areas of the Earth. In April the temperature rarely rises above -30 ° C. Constantly blowing wind causes that the perceived temperature seems much lower. Frozen earth allows to survive only plants with very short roots. By living in such conditions, can adapt only a few mammals. The most numerous group of animals that live in these regions – a lemming and arctic hare. However, in order to survive, the wolf flock sometimes needs and larger prey. Such may be musk oxen and reindeer, but they rarely come to these territories. Therefore, wolf flock should bypass an area covering 2,000 square kilometers. In winter the temperature drops. Small animals hide under the ground and caribou for food go to the south. Wolves follow them.
Polar wolves keep in flocks of 7-10 individuals. The most common are family flocks, which consists of parents, their cubs and individuals from previous litters. Flock is usually headed by the leader, and his female in the flock takes a similar position. The residue of the flock subjects and forms its own hierarchy. However, on the hunt, while feeding and educating of cubs all adult animals help each other. Often, one or two young wolfs look after the cubs when their mother leaves to hunt.
Hierarchical relationships within flock are carried out using complex language, consisting of movements, barking and growling. Wolves occupying a high position in the flock, require from subordinates unquestioning obedience, they, in turn, expressing devotion humbly press against the ground or lie on their back. Severe, bloody clashes between wolves are rare.
Wolves with howl alert other flocks of their presence, so they mark territory and try to avoid the meeting, which would lead to a fight. Lone wolves – are usually young animals, which have left their flock and went in search of a separate area. When such a wolf finds an unoccupied territory it designates it by the urinary points or defecating in certain well-marked areas, stating his rights to it.
In autumn and winter flock migrates, but after the mating season, pregnant wolf female leaves it to find a den. Sometimes a wolf female digs den itself, but in the winter when the ground is frozen much, the female brings posterity in the old den or in a rocky crevice.
Cubs are born blind, with closed ear holes and absolutely helpless. They are totally dependent on the mother. Approximately a month later wolf cubs already can eat half-digested meat, burp by male who brings food all this time for the female and wolf cubs. If a there is enough food, young wolves from the beginning of the summer become full members of the flock and migrate with adult individuals.