We have been witnessing the peak of winter hormones. As you may already know, right around this time of the year, wolves are in the midst of their breeding season. It’s not always universal for wolves to breed in February and March though. Wolves at lower latitudes will breed earlier than those at higher latitudes which corresponds with seasonality and ecological conditions.
Here at IWC, our ambassadors are spayed and neutered but they still experience the surge of hormones that come with the seasonal cycles. For example, overall we see increased activity and behavioral changes within the Pack such as increased tension between adult males, Axel and Grayson. We also have witnessed Rieka and Grayson engaging more and more in pair bonding behaviors, yet Rieka will still occasionally snap at his tail. We cannot know what a wolf is thinking, we can only offer interpretations and we certainly don’t know what Rieka is thinking when she engages in these social behaviors with Grayson that turn into tail grabs.
It doesn’t always end up like that. In this week’s YouTube Pack Update, you will see Rieka and Grayson doing a brief parallel walk. They are definitely engaging socially and this usually brings Caz around, although the main focus usually remains on each other. With continuous soft muzzle bites, Grayson oftentimes maintains a high tail, but with a relatively relaxed wag. If Rieka decides to roll over, that puts her in a vulnerable position. Blackstone usually doesn’t get involved, maybe because he doesn’t want to end up being the focus of Rieka and Caz, but if the opportunity presents itself to stand over Rieka he just might join. When this occurs, you can see in her facial expressions that she is not pleased. But she’ll eventually stand back up and continue engaging with Grayson, pawing at him, rolling over AGAIN and of course bringing over the yearlings.
Rieka can usual hold her own, however, especially when it’s Blackstone getting involved. You can usually tell when she decides that enough is enough: her posture is taller and tail high, portraying a more dominant or confident wolf. Even her vocalizations may shift in intensity, communicating to Blackstone that she will not tolerate his testing behaviors to her.
Many of you ask if Rieka has pair bonded yet. We would say that she has not, she is showing signs of pair bonding with Grayson, but sometimes she shows similar behaviors with Caz, the difference is that Caz does not seem to be ready for that yet.
If you are wondering where is Axel in all of these interactions, he has been spending a lot of time watching from the comforts of the slate den. He has also been behaving a bit subdued recently. It seems to coincide with some gastrointestinal discomfort which we suspect is a side effect of his treatment for his skin condition (sebaceous adenitis). We have lowered his dosage and increased carcass feedings to hopefully lessen that discomfort and keep him with a full stomach.
Finally, we continue to have wildlife visitors but we hate that they sometimes don’t make it out. The wolves encountered the mink and it did not make it. Our wolves are well fed and not really interested in consuming it but they tend to guard it from others and scent roll on it’s unique odor, which very similar to a skunk but not nearly as intense.
Thank you so much for supporting and keeping up with our ambassador wolves. For those of you who are interested in directly supporting our Wolf Care department, consider browsing our AmazonWishlist and put our 2024 Wolf Care Auction (February 26th to March 10th) on your calendar!