How to Survive a Wolf Attack: Avoid Confrontations with Wolves
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You just want to go out caving and the next thing you know, you are looking at the largest and scariest dog you have ever seen – but, it isn’t a dog. It is a wolf. If you know How to Survive a Wolf Attack – you won’t be just about to crap your pants.
If you are prepared seriously for caving, then you will have the right things on if you encounter wild wolves: layers, waterproof shoes and gloves, and wool or synthetic socks. Don’t wear perfume or cologne.
As far as when you go exploring caves, it’s recommended that you do it during the daytime hours because wolves are nocturnal creatures that only come out at night.
Kinds of Wolves
There are three species of wolf: the grey wolf, the red wolf, and the Ethiopian wolf. There are many sub-species of wolves, and recent research suggests that the eastern timber wolf may actually be a fourth separate species.
The Largest Wolf in the World
An average adult grey wolf grows to around 40kg. However, in Bulgaria in 2007, Slavcho Slavchev shot dead an 80kg grey wolf. The previous record for the biggest wolf ever found, was 79.4kg. There are over 2500 grey wolves in Bulgaria, but this wolf remains by far the largest ever recorded.
Wolves have 42 teeth compared to 32 in humans. The International Wolf Centre reports that the fangs of a wolf can grow to lengths of up to two and a half inches. But it is the large molars and incredibly powerful jaw muscles of the wolf that have made this animal into one of the most formidable predators.
Compared to a German Shepherd dog, which has a biting pressure of 300 pounds per square inch, an adult wolf’s biting capacity is 1000 to 1,500 pounds of pressure per square inch. That’s some bite!
Wolves will travel long distances in their hunt for food. Wolves have been known to travel up to twelve miles each day as they roam around their territory hunting for moose, deer, elk, and smaller mammals and birds. When hunting, the wolf pack often works together as a team to bring down large animals like moose.
What does that all mean?
Wolves are something to be wary of when you are out and about in nature.
How to Survive a Wolf Attack: ID the wolf den
First of all, how can you tell if a cave is being used as a wolf den? You should look for the following signs just outside as well as inside:
- Piles of bones (scattered, not organized) in and around the cave.
- Urine-soaked areas that reek of ammonia (think cat pee).
- Footprints larger than your own. It’s normal to see wolf prints at an estimated size of 2-3 times the size of your own foot.
- Feces that are roughly the same color as cow dung.
If you see none of that and venture into the cave, only to encounter wolves, well – crap. Let’s give you some knowledge so you can handle that situation.
Wolves travel in packs
You should be aware of the fact that wolves typically travel in packs. The more individual wolves there are in a pack, the more dangerous they may be because there is less chance of them scattering if they’re attacked.
Wolves will try to protect their pack by defending it, but you should also be aware that they have a tendency to attack the weakest member of the group in order to assure a victory.
If they have young pups, they will also tend to be more defensive during this time, which is why you shouldn’t go exploring caves near wolf dens. If the chance of them attacking you becomes very high because they’re being territorial and protecting their young, your best bet is to run as fast as you can back up the cave that leads outside.
How to Survive a Wolf Attack: Know Wolf mating season
If there are no young pups with them, then it’s recommended that you back out of the cave slowly and carefully. Male wolves tend to be especially protective of their territory during mating season, which is typically from the end of January to the second week in March.
This is why it isn’t recommended that you go exploring caves near wolf dens during this time period because there is a higher chance of them becoming aggressive and attacking you during this time period.
After mating season, they become more relaxed but during the rest of the year, wolves will travel alone or in pairs based on whether they’re male or female. Pups tend to travel almost exclusively in pairs.
Wolves are social animals
Wolves are typically not very aggressive creatures unless there is food involved or one of their own pack members is being attacked. After all, the wolf is a social animal that depends on its pack for much of its survival. As long as you don’t come too close to them, they won’t attack or try to bite you. They will just run away and leave you alone unless you threaten one of their own members.
If you’re in an area where there are wolves, it’s recommended that you stay together as a group and speak in a soft voice. You should never look directly into the eyes of a wolf because they think that can be taken as an aggressive action on your part.
How to Survive a Wolf Attack: Don’t run from wolves
Also, one thing you shouldn’t ever do is run away from them because they view fleeing as an act of aggression. Wolves will give chase if you run and they will attack as long as there is an opportunity to do so.
You should also be aware that wolves tend to chase prey at about 30 miles per hour, so you should be able to outrun them from a standstill.
If there are multiple wolves, you don’t want to separate from the group because they will continue to chase and attack until one of their own is hurt or killed. You could try luring them away by throwing small rocks in opposite directions as far as you can while running away.
As I mentioned earlier, wolves are social creatures that have a high level of intelligence. Although they don’t use signs or verbal language when communicating with each other, they use their sense of sight, smell, and hearing to convey information to each other.
The entire pack really depends on their leader, and they stay with that same leader for life unless he is removed by either being killed or banished from the pack. The alpha wolf is typically the strongest animal within the pack, and he maintains order by keeping a certain level of respect from each member.
If there is someone new in the pack that becomes stronger than the alpha, they will challenge him for control of the rest of the group. The winner gets to become a leader while fighting off any challengers.
The way wolf packs work is that they have an established hierarchy. This is part of the reason why they are so successful in hunting because they work together to surround and attack their prey, making it impossible for them to escape. There is a lot of competition within the wolves in order to become more dominant than the others; therefore it’s very rare for a puppy wolf to be allowed into the main group.
That is why running from them is a bad idea. Even if the wolves are just playing with you, they may decide to attack and kill you because it is part of their way to compete for leadership. They also do this on a regular basis as they grow up so that they can prepare for when they become alpha themselves.
Try to avoid confrontations with wolves, especially if you are in an area where there may be a lot of them. Remember that they’re social creatures that depend on each other for survival, so it’s best not to threaten either them or their members. If you’re found by a wolf while caving, try to avoid eye contact as much as possible and slowly back away.
Other Cave Wildlife you may be interested to read about:
- Interesting Facts About Bats: Awesome Creatures of the Night
- All You Could Want to Know about Stonefish
- Extremely Rare and Interesting Subterranean Species: Understanding Troglobites
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