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What are some facts about the gray wolf?

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The gray wolf is a wild canine that lives throughout much of northern North America and the Rocky Mountains. Its coat is usually a shade of gray with brown mixed in, although some individuals are solid black or white. Gray wolves are social creatures that live in groups called packs.

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Gray wolves grow up to 32 inches high at the shoulder and up to 6.5 feet long to the end of the tail. Males, which usually are larger than females, weigh up to 130 pounds. They live up to about eight years in the wild.

Gray wolves need large areas of wilderness to live, and they inhabit forests, mountains, tundra, grasslands and deserts. Once found throughout much of the continental United States, over-hunting and habitat destruction has decimated the population, and as of 2015, the conservation agencies list the creature as an endangered species. Conservation efforts are helping to restore the creature to parts of its former range.

The dominant male in a pack is the alpha male, and his mate is the alpha female. Members of a pack hunt together and communicate with each other and rival packs through howling and other vocalizations. Together, the pack hunts large mammals such as elk and bison.

Female gray wolves give birth to up to seven pups, which the whole pack helps to care for.

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