How Do Wolves Adapt?

Dennis Matheson/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Wolves have many adaptations that enable them to survive in their environments, such as unusually large paws, thick fur coats and keen senses. Wolves are also able to adapt to almost any habitat, with the notable exceptions of deserts and tropical rain forests.

Wolves have unique paws that are unusually large with sharp claws, allowing them to move easily on both snow and ice. Gray wolves have thick coats made of woolly fibers that provide extra insulation and warmth in cold environments.

Wolves have extremely keen senses that enable them to hunt effectively. Their hearing is 20 times sharper than human hearing, and their sense of smell is even more well-developed. They also have a special retina that enables them to see and hunt at night.

Wolves’ teeth, jaws and stomach are specially adapted to their diet. Wolves have powerful jaws than can exert 500 pounds of pressure per square inch, allowing them to hold onto and crush the bones of their prey. Their sharp front teeth can pierce thick skin and tear flesh from bone. Wolves have large stomachs in which they can both store food and quickly digest it when necessary. They can hold up to 20 pounds of food in their stomach, which is useful in the case of food scarcity.