• Length (includin tail): 95 - 140 cm (males); 97 – 124 cm (females)
• Shoulder height: 60 – 90 cm
• Weight: 25 – 45 kg (males); females usually about 15% lighter
• Age: up to 13 years
Wolves were originally distributed throughout the northern hemisphere of the earth. Hunting reduced them everywhere in Europe. Around 1850, Germany was considered to be wolf-free. Since the wolf is nowadays protected in most countries, the populations are increasing again.
Each pack uses its own territory, the size of which depends on the available food. In Central Europe, studies determined the territory sizes are often between 150 - 359 km².
As a large carnivore, the prey of wolves consists mainly of deer, wild boar and red deer. But also smaller animals like hares are occasionally on the menu. Wolves hunt mainly older, sick or young animals, as they represent easier prey.
Wolves can thus contribute to the natural selection of hoofed animals and thus promote the vitality of these populations.
Wolves prefer to live in packs of 5 to 10 members, which are made up of the parents and their offspring of the current and the last 1 to 2 years. A contested hierarchy as known from keeping of wolves in captivity does not exist in free-living wolves.
Mating season is from January to March, after a good two months gestation period, an average of 4 to 6 cubs are born. With 6 to 7 months these are already almost as large as the parents and yearlings (young wolves in the second year of life) run along with the other pack members. In the process of sexual maturity at the age of 2 years, the young wolves usually leave the parental territory and look for a sexual partner and their own territory.
After the wolf was greatly reduced and locally wiped out by humans in parts of Europe, the species was placed under strict protection. Today the wolf is protected internationally by a regulation of the European Community as well as the Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive and nationally by the Federal Nature Conservation Act. The wolf therefore has the highest possible protection status.
This has successfully led to the reintroduction of wolves in Germany. Since the wolf population in Germany currently doubles about every three years and conflict situations arise, the protection status is being discussed.
The wolf reacts cautiously to the sight of humans, but it does not always immediately take flight.
Often the animal retreats slowly and calmly. If, however, an encounter should take place, the following rules should be observed:
• Have respect for the animal
• Do NOT run away. If you want more distance, retreat slowly
• If you have a dog with you, you should always keep it on a leash and close to you
• If the wolf seems to close, attract attention to yourself. Speak loudly, gesticulate or make yourself otherwise clearly noticeable
• Do NOT run after the wolf
• Never feed wolfes – the animal will otherwise quickly learn to associate human presence with food and may then actively seek human proximity
If you see a wolf, please report it at: