Friday, September 16, 2011

Cooler Temperatures Make for Happy Wolves

Brrr... It really feels like summer has come to an end today. While the cool temperatures have caught some of us off guard without appropriate attire, the weather feels fabulous to the 25 wolves that call the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) home. Their coats ar growing thicker and thicker as each day passes!

A wolf's coat consists of two elements: the long guard hairs that form the visible outer layer of of the coat and the soft dense undercoat. The coarse guard hairs determine a wolf's appearance/color and works like a raincoat, protecting a wolf from rain, snow, and sleet. The undercoat is usually gray in color and keeps the animal comfortable in cold temperatures. A wolf's insulating undercoat begins to fall out like sheets of soft wool in the spring and a fresh under-layer thickens during the fall. The shedding cycle is driven by hormone levels that rise in the spring with the onset of longer days and decrease as day lengths shorten in the fall. Thanks to the photoperiodic rhythm of his body chemistry, Atka is already prepared for this cold snap and likely looking forward to even colder temperatures on the horizon. Enjoy the day Atka!

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