Timber wolves, or gray wolves, are the largest of the canine species. They are highly social animals who live in packs of two or more. Wolves are one of the most far-roaming migratory animals, inhabiting several continents.
Wolves range in weight from 50 to 120 pounds but larger wolves have been recorded. Wolves in northern habitats grow much larger than wolves further south. The largest North American wolf recorded was killed in Alaska in 1939 and weighed 175 pounds. Even larger wolves have been recorded in far northern European countries. Wolves south of the equator are usually no bigger than a medium-sized dog.
Wolves are highly social animals with a pack hierarchy. Pack leaders are an alpha male and an alpha female, and they are the only members of the pack who mate. The rest of the pack usually consists of their pups and their juvenile offspring. These juveniles usually leave the pack once they have gained sexual maturity.
Wolves live in North America, Europe, Asia and a small section of Africa. They have a large territory (200 to 500 square miles), which explains why the are so widespread throughout each continent. Although wolves vary in size and appearance depending on their habitat, they all exhibit the same social qualities.