Friday, January 5, 2018

Winter is Welcome for Arctic Wolf Atka


How do wolves respond to sub-zero temperatures? They bask.


Wild Arctic gray wolves (Canis lupus arctos) live primarily in the Arctic, the region located above 67° north latitude. These fascinating creatures are designed by the pressures of nature and are well adapted to survive on the icy landscape.

Atka, like his wild counterparts, has two layers of fur: the long guard hairs that form the visible outer layer of the coat and the soft dense undercoat. The coarse guard hairs determine a wolf's appearance/color and work like a raincoat, protecting a wolf from rain, snow, and sleet. The insulating undercoat is usually gray in color and keeps the animal comfortable in cold temperatures.

Additional adaptations to reduce heat loss include the slightly shorter nose, ears, and legs than other gray wolf subspecies, and hair between the pads of his snowshoe-like feet. His fluffy tail can also keep this nose warm and cozy. Thanks to these special features, Arctic wolves can survive in temperatures as low as minus 70° Fahrenheit.

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