Animals

5 Fang-tastic Facts About The Italian Wolf For Kids

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Italian Wolves are fascinating animals, and most children would be interested in learning about them in detail. Italian wolf (Canis lupus italicus), also popularly known as Apennine wolf, is a subspecies of the grey wolf living in the mountains of Italy since early days. This subspecies belongs to the family of Canidae and prey on large and medium-sized animals. The conservation status of this species is considered near endangered because of the illegal hunting of wolves in Italy. But on the positive side, the wolf population is noted to be increasing in the Alps and the Apennines. Italian wolves prefer roaming around in packs and are very affectionate towards each other. They are not the pickiest animals and can inhabit almost anywhere they are not threatened. This species of animals established themselves in the wild of other countries like Southern France. Canis lupus italicus living in the alps of Italy, is one of the most respected animals in Italy and even considered to be the national animal for a very amusing reason. There is not one thing about Canis lupus italicus that won't interest you. Keep reading to discover some interesting facts about the species that live in the alps of Italy and Southern France.

If you like what you are reading and want to know more about animals, check out our other articles Ethiopian Wolf and Eurasian wolf.

Italian wolf

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Wild boar, chamois, roe deer, red deer, and livestock

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

6-7

How much do they weigh?

55-77 lb (25-35 kg)

How long are they?

43-58 in (110-148 cm)


How tall are they?

20-27 in (50-70 cm)


What do they look like?

Gray or brown

Skin Type

Fur

What are their main threats?

Humans

What is their conservation status?

Vulnerable

Where you'll find them

The Apennine Mountains and the Western Alps

Locations

Italy

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammal

Scientific Name

Canis lupus italicus

Family

Canidae

Genus

Canis

Italian Wolf Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Italian wolf?

As the name suggests, the Italian wolf is a wolf native to the Italian Peninsula. Italian wolf (Canis lupus italicus) is also called Apennine wolf and is a descendent of the grey wolf.

What class of animal does an Italian wolf belong to?

Italian wolf is a mammal who is an exceptionally skilled hunter.

How many Italian wolves are there in the world?

About 500-600 Italian wolves are living in the wild as estimated currently.

Where does an Italian wolf live?

The grey wolf's subspecies is generally found in the Western Alps and the Apennine Mountains in Italy. Though the wolf population is expanding thoroughly towards the north and east. In recent years, many Italian wolves have been seen in some regions of Switzerland. Italian wolf is also found in Parc National du Mercantour in Southern France.

What is an Italian wolf's habitat?

Italian wolf is mainly inhabitant of the Apennine Mountains and the Western Alps of Italy.

Who do Italian wolves live with?

The Italian wolf typically lives in packs. Wolf packs are generally spotted with two to seven individuals of their own kind.

How long does an Italian wolf live?

These skilled hunters can live a healthy life up to 18 years.

How do they reproduce?

A pair of descendants of grey wolf share a reasonable amount of time together. The middle of March is the mating time of this subspecies. A female Italian wolf has a gestation period of two months. A female Italian wolf can give birth to two to seven pups, but it mostly depends on the age of the mother. At birth, a pup weighs no more than 250-350 g. It takes a pup around 10-12 days to first open its eyes.

What is their conservation status?

In the 1970s, the population of the Italian wolf was as low as 70-100. Italy has been strictly protecting them since then, but the threat of illegal hunting and persecution is still not completely dealt with. After the 1970s, the population of the Italian wolf doubled. Currently, it is noted that the Italian wolf population is increasing at a 7% rate annually. However, the Italian wolf that migrated and settled in the alps of Southern France is still as low as 40-50 individuals and so its conservation status is vulnerable.

Italian Wolf Fun Facts

What do Italian wolves look like?

Italian wolf has beautiful grey and brown blended fur, which reddens a bit during the summer. A few black specimens of the species have been spotted in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the Mugello region. Dark bands are found in their back and tail tips. The color of the belly and cheeks are way lighter than the rest of the body. The female of this species is about 10% lighter than the male.

The Italian wolf is a descendant of the grey wolf.

How cute are they?

At birth, an Italian wolf has beautiful blue eyes with darker fur. Through time, the color of the eyes changes to golden yellow or orange, but blue-eyed adult wolves are also spotted at times. The graceful eyes and dazzling fur make the Italian wolf look extremely cute.

How do they communicate?

Apennine wolf has an adorable way of greeting each other. As they cannot use their paws, they use their mouth while hugging each other. Wolf packs are often seen chewing each other's faces. When it comes to hunting, Italian wolf uses barking, whimpering, growling, and howling to communicate. Howling is generally used for long-distance communication. The sounds of wolves are a combination of barking and growling. Having met a human, friendly wolves communicate in the same way they do with each other. They run-up to each other, put their noses against each other, look straight into their eyes and start licking their teeth.

How big is an Italian wolf?

As there is a scarcity of larger prey in Italy, wolves there are shorter than usual. An Italian wolf weighs 55–77 lb (25–35 kg) and a large male can weigh up to 88–99 lb (40–45 kg) which is much shorter than a fully grown European wolf.

How fast can an Italian wolf run?

Being a nocturnal hunter who peruses the prey for at least 0.62 mi (1 km), wolves can run at a speed of 35–40 mph (56–64 km/h) sustained for several kilometers.

How much does an Italian wolf weigh?

An average Italian wolf weighs somewhere between 55-77 lb (25-35 kg) but some larger male ones weighing around 99 lb (45 kg) are also spotted. Female of this species weigh much less than the male. In the presence of larger prey, the Italian wolf can weigh much more.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no distinguished male and female names of this species. Although, female wolves are often called she-wolves.  

What would you call a baby Italian wolf?

Baby Italian wolves are called pups. Since two to seven pups are born together, it is called litter. And the pups that are in the litter together are often called littermates.

What do they eat?

An Italian wolf, a nocturnal hunter, can eat up to three kilograms of meat in a day. Due to the absence of larger prey, Italian wolves set their eyes on medium-sized animals like wild boar, chamois, roe deer, and red deer. Wolves in Italy also prey on livestock and garbage along with small animals like rabbits and hares. They are occasionally spotted eating berries and herbs for roughage.

Are they dangerous?

According to the Romans, wolves are not harmful to human beings, and the instances of them attacking people are mythological. Since World War II, there has not been any record of a wolf attack on a human in Italy. Although, this species is responsible for the death of around 2,200 sheep in 2003 in France. Hence, the species can be moderately dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Since wolves are a predecessor of dogs, they can be loyal, loving, and friendly; however, it is not possible to completely tame a wolf. Nevertheless, there are people who have raised wolves since they were pups. However, petting an Italian wolf from the wild will probably not be a good idea.

Did you know...

The Italian wolf plays a vital role in maintaining the ecosystem. They help enrich the ecology of the region by preying on large and small animals that allow the vegetation to grow.

Do they only exist in Italy?

The species of Apennine wolf is the native animal of Italy and was quite widespread in the Italian Peninsula. But, the Italian wolves have established themselves in the alps of Southwestern France and were first sighted in 1992. The Italian wolf has also been spotted in the wilds of Switzerland in recent years.

Are they the national animal of Italy?

Going back to the Roman myth, it is said by the legends that Rome was founded by two brothers Romulus and Remus. The twin brothers Romulus and Remus were said to be raised by a she-wolf. The she-wolf cared a great deal about Romulus and Remus and raised them as her own children. She continuously protected her children from wild animals. So, in honor of her, wolves are considered the national animal of Italy.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including husky wolf mix, or tundra wolf.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Italian Wolf coloring pages.

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