The Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus) is a subspecies of the Grey Wolf, a canid or canine mammal. It is also known as the Spanish Wolf.
The Iberian Wolf is dog-like with thick, grey fur and a white stroke on its cheek that joins its white throat. It has white marks on its upper lips. It has a triangular-shaped face with a wide forehead, medium-sized ears, and dark orange-brown eyes. It has a reddish snout (nose). Its tail is long with dark markings. It also has dark markings on its front legs (signatus means ‘marked’). It has orange-brown eyes.
It grows to about 123 centimetres (48 inches) long and 70 centimetres (28 inches) at shoulder height.
It is native to the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula in Europe, which includes northern Portugal and north-western Spain. It prefers forests and grasslands.
It is an apex predator because it has few enemies. It has large, strong teeth to feed on livestock, rabbits, hares, deer, ibexes, foxes, badgers, weasels, marmots, squirrels, mice, rats, and fish. It can break and crush the bones of its prey.
The Iberian Wolf is a social animal and lives in small families, called packs. Each pack has 5-11 individuals.
The male and female generally stay together as a pair for life. The female is pregnant for 62-75 days, before giving birth to 5-6 young, called pups. She has the pups in a den so that she can protect them. The young pups are born blind and deaf, and stay in the pack for 10-54 months before leaving to start their own pack.
[Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM