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Reasons That Wolves Howl

Hearing a wolf howl is one of nature’s most incredible sounds, but you may not know the reasons behind it. In this article, we look at how wolves communicate with each other.

Wolves howl to communicate with other wolves. Wolves howl to assemble pack members, protect their territory from other packs, and communicate their location to pack members. Wolves also howl at others to show affection.

Hearing a wolf howl in the wild is a chilling but fantastic experience. It gives you the feeling that you are among one of nature’s apex predators. If you have ever wanted to know why wolves howl, this article will answer your questions.

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Wolf

Communication

Wolves howl to communicate with other wolves, sometimes over long distances. The wolves that can hear them can be members of their pack or a rival pack.

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Location

Wolves howl to communicate their location to the rest of their pack. When wolves come back to the group after finding food, they will howl to let other pack members know where they are.

Warning

Wolves howl to communicate that the area is occupied. On hearing the rival howl, the alpha male decides whether to retreat or enter the occupied territory. They also make a defensive howl warn others to stay in their packs and protect the young.

Why Do Wolves Howl Back?

Wolves use their howl as a means of communication and signal that they have heard and understood the message. A howl can reassemble a pack, warn intruders away, identify other wolves, and signify a change in territory. Wolves will howl back to confirm the message.

How Far Can A Wolf Howl Be Heard?

The exact distance depends on the terrain. In an open space, a howl can travel up to 16 km away. In heavily forested areas, the sound may travel less than 10 km. 

Areas with large hills and mountainous regions can also change how far a howl can be heard, with the sound bouncing off different terrain areas. A wolf high up can be heard farther than a wolf howling at the bottom of a valley.

Wolves can communicate with each other over long distances. Wolves have excellent hearing and can project their voice. This allows them to be heard by other wolves over their home territory and beyond.

Do Wolves Howl After A Kill?

Wolves do howl after a kill. This is used to warn other wolves away from the kill site, while also reassembling all pack members to feed.

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Wolf Howling

Differences Between Coyote and Wolf Howl?

Wolves have a drawn-out howl that rises in pitch. The howl of a wolf starts low then rises over time. The howl can also include barking and growls. Coyotes have a higher-pitched howl that occurs in much shorter bursts that rise and fall. Instead of barking and growling, coyotes use yips and yaps.

Although wolves and coyotes are both members of the Canidae family, they are very different. Wolves are much larger than coyotes, with some wolves being three times as heavy as a coyote. This size difference also plays a part in the difference between a coyote’s howl and the deeper wolf howl.

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Do Wolves Howl At The Moon?

Wolves appear to howl at the moon, but they don’t. They lift their nose and mouths upwards because the sound will travel further by howling at the sky. Other wolves will hear the howl much better when howling towards the sky.

Traditionally, wolves were thought to howl at the sight of the moon, especially a full moon.

Why Do Wolves Howl When Humans Howl?

When a wolf replies to a human’s howl, they are warning you to stay away from their territory. Whether they know it is a human, or another wolf is unknown, but they know it is not one of their pack howling.

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Do Dogs Understand Wolf Howls?

If you have heard a wolf howl in your area, then you may have heard dogs in your area reply. Dogs do respond to wolves using a similar howl. Dogs and wolves do seem to understand each other.

Many dogs howl to attract attention, and dogs that are left alone sometimes exhibit this behavior. However, there are differences in the style of communication between a dog and a wolf.

Wolves and dogs share the same body language when interacting with other members of their species. Bowing, chasing each other, pacing, growling, and showing teeth are similarities between both species. Howling is another form of communication that dogs and wolves share.

Do Wolves Bark?

Wolf pups bark and this carries over into later juvenile stages. Wolves use barking to warn others in the pack. Their mother often barks at cubs as a warning if they sense danger. A combination of a bark and a howl is used when showing aggression.

Which Dogs Howl Like Wolves?

Several breeds make a noise similar to the sound of a howling wolf. Hunting dogs are one of the groups of dogs that howl like wolves. 

Hunting dogs such as beagles, bloodhounds, coonhounds, dachshunds, and foxhounds are bred to trap prey. They howl to tell other dogs that they have caught their prey.

Other breeds that howl are Alaskan malamutes, American Eskimo dogs, and huskies. These dogs are bred to pull sleds and to be working dogs.

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