One of the world’s longest rivers, numerous rare animal species, and a sizable rainforest may all be found in South America. The maned wolf is one of the characteristic animals that wander the continent’s vast grasslands, but it is also one that is shrouded in obscurity and mystery. Its name and appearance are both confusing. We’ve chosen to share with you ten amazing facts about maned wolves in order to help you understand what makes these animals so fascinating.Without further ado, let’s get started with the list and give it a little twist.
10. The Maned Wolf Is Not a Wolf at All
Although its name is clear as day, the maned wolf is not a wolf. It’s also not a dog or a jackal. These creatures don’t fit well into any of those categories, so they fit into their own instead. This creature’s scientific name is Chrysocyon brachyurus, and it’s all alone in that genus.
The maned wolf is part of the same subtribe that contains some foxes and other canids, but it’s not related to them.
9. Males Help Care for Their Young
In many species, the primary ? rearing is performed by the females. However, males are involved in the lives of their young, at least in captivity. Males help by regurgitating food for their young to consume. That leads to another gross fact: maned wolves eat vomit.
Although we know that males regurgitate food for their young in captivity, we don’t know if they do it as often in the wild. In fact, that regurgitating behavior has only recently been successfully recorded in the wild.
8. They Are Lone “Wolves”
For safety, many canid animal groups prefer to be in the company of others. To help them survive, wolves, jackals, and wild dogs try to form colonies. However, you shouldn’t anticipate seeing many maned wolves together in the wild.
They are occasionally seen with people of the opposing sex. However, this does not imply that these canids enjoy being with people all the time. According to rumor, the animals get together to procreate and raise their young. Beyond that, they live alone.
7. Maned Wolves Have a Diverse Diet
With “wolf” in their name, you might assume that the maned wolf likes to eat a ton of meat. While they certainly indulge in hunting and eating small mammals and birds, they also consume a fair amount of fruit.
They eat hundreds of different foods, and one of the most popular is called wolf apples. These tomato-like fruits make up about half of their diet or more. Scientists believe that the reason maned wolves eat these fruits so often is their abundance and availability throughout the year.
6. They Mark Their Territory with Especially Smelly Urine
If you were hoping for another gross fact about maned wolves, you’re in luck. Like many other male creatures, they mark their territory with urine. It’s not your run-of-the-mill stuff, though. Maned wolves are famous for having some of the most pungent, putrid-smelling urine that rivals the scent that skunks produce.
If you wander into their territory after a fresh spray, you’ll know it. The interesting thing is that certain chemicals in their urine may signal information to other maned wolves, perhaps a desire to breed, but we don’t know what just yet.
5. They Perform a Roar-Bark to Tell Others to Back Off
Compared to other canids, maned wolves have peculiar vocalizations. Yes, they have a whine and a growl similar to those of dogs. However, they also have a “roar-bark” that they employ to warn off other animals. These barks are particularly distinctive, lengthy, and loud.
It’s interesting to note that these cries are fairly unique to a particular maned wolf, allowing the listener to distinguish between two maned wolves calling at once. However, it is unknown whether maned wolves howl.
4. Maned Wolves Are the Tallest Canids in South America
Maned wolves are actually quite large creatures, and a lot of their height comes from their long legs. On average, they will stand 35 inches at the withers. They stand on long, thin legs that make them look like a fox on stilts to some people. These long legs serve a purpose, though.
Their height helps them see over tall vegetation in their range, most of which are savannahs and grasslands but also include marshes and forests, too. Also, their long legs help them reach a top speed that exceeds 40 miles per hour. These are swift animals!
3. They Are Hunted by Larger Mammals
Although South America is not known for having a great deal of large, dangerous mammals, a few of them prey on the maned wolf. Two of the main predators that exist today include jaguars and pumas.
These large cats have a size and weight advantage in many cases, and they also can stealthily approach the maned wolf. All told, these factors spell disaster for the unlucky canid, as it has practically no chance of winning a fight against a jaguar or puma.
2. Scientists Learn a Lot from This Animal’s Scat
Finding maned wolves in the wild for research is difficult. These creatures are rare and extremely elusive. Due to the difficulty in observing maned wolves in the wild, researchers have to examine their feces.
Fortunately, that has provided scientists with a wealth of information on these animals, including what they eat and when. Even though it’s unpleasant, this is unquestionably one of the 10 amazing maned wolf facts that has given us the most insight into these animals.
1. Fewer than 25,000 Exist in the Wild
Part of what makes studying this animal so difficult is the fact that there are relatively few of them left in the world. Although it is hard to get an exact count, most organizations believe that fewer than 25,000 of these animals exist in the wild.
Fortunately, their native countries are stepping up to the plate to issue protections for them. They are protecting the maned wolf’s natural range and reducing the interactions between them and humans. After all, habitat loss is one of the driving forces behind this animal’s population loss.