Touting the honor of the world’s tallest wild canine, it’s the maned wolf. Maned wolves are more closely related to the forest fox and the bush dog than to actual wolves. These canids are gentle and hesitant to approach humans, for good reason. They have been hunted by farmers for the fear that they’ll eat their chickens. Read more about these ‘canines on stilts’. This article is on special request from my buddy Sam.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Chrysocyon brachyurus
Weight: 47 lbs.
Height: 35 inches (at the shoulder)
Lifespan: 7 years (in the wild) | 15 years (in captivity)
Now on to the Facts!
1.) They communicate in a variety of ways. One way is to release what is called a roar-bark! See the video below. Other ways are to mark their territory with a urine-like spray.
2.) Maned wolves are omnivores (eat both plant and animals). Fruits and vegetables make up nearly 50% of their diet, in the wild.
3.) The maned wolves are monogamous (they mate for life).
4.) They can be found in open grasslands in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
5.) Despite their name, the maned wolf is not a wolf, a dog, or even a fox! Their closest relative was the tawny-furred Falkland Islands wolf, which went extinct in the 1880s.
But wait, there’s more on maned wolf!
6.) They are solitary, sans being mated to a partner, and thus do not hunt in packs like other canids. They will defend a territory of about 15 square miles.
7.) Being mostly crepuscular (active at twilight hours), these critters will also sleep at varying times based on locale.
Did you know…?
Maned wolf urine releases pyrazines that create a powerful odor that smells like marijuana smoke.
8.) When threatened, they erect their thick mane hairs, making them look larger. An anxious mane wolf will also stand upright, lower its head, and arch its back to appear more ominous!
9.) Only around 17,000 adults are believed to remain in the wild. Most of these live in Brazil. Their decline has been caused by human encroachment via agriculture and expansion. They are also hunted by chicken farmers as they are believed to prey on the domesticated fowl.
10.) Pups are born with dark, almost black, fur that turns reddish as they age.