I suppose that I was born with wolves in my blood (my father was of Roman descent) if there were any credence to the legend of Romulus and Remus. For those of you who are not acquainted with the legend, it goes like this. Romulus and Remus were twin brothers who were abandoned as babies and put into a basket that was then placed into the Tiber River. When the basket was stranded at the side of the river, it was said that the twins were discovered by a she-wolf and the wolf nursed the babies.
When Romulus and Remus became adults, they decided to found a city in the same spot where they had been found by the she-wolf. After quarrelling over the site, Romulus killed his brother Remus and as the sole remaining founder of the city, he named it Rome. This legend is exactly that, a legend. Yet in the Piazza of the Campidoglio in Rome, at the top of a pillar, you will still find this statue.
Let me tell you about some interesting facts about wolves, and then we’ll talk about their domestic counterparts, our dogs. Wolves are 10 times more intelligent than the smartest dogs and are the largest of the dog family, with adult males weighing between 95-100 lbs. The jaw pressure of a wolf is two times the jaw pressure of a German Shepherd. They even resemble German Shepherds but their legs are longer, their feet are bigger and their fangs can grow up to 2” which makes it easy to rip apart their prey like deer or elk. They can see and smell a deer from more than a mile away. Wolves can eat up to 20 lbs at once but many die of starvation, (feast or famine), because of the lack of food in the wilderness. THASC artist Manfred Teller’s wolves in his painting are most likely arctic wolves which inhabit the far north. Adult wolves like these have the ability to adjust their body temperature to adapt to changes in the weather. In extreme cold weather, wolves can restrict the flow of blood to the skin to conserve heat. They have both a fur coat and a thick undercoat, and the overcoat is long and thick.
Most wolves are gray. Today about 50,000 gray wolves inhabit Canada, while Alaska has 10,000, and the rest of the United States has less than 1,300. They also live in China and Russia. Wolves spend 8-10 hours on the move and can run up to 35 mph. Let’s talk a bit about why wolves howl and their association with the moon. The truth is that wolves (Canis lupis) don’t howl at the moon. Scientists have found no correlation whatsoever, so then, what do they howl at? A wide range of theories has been identified: First, wolves pipe up a lot during the night because they are nocturnal. They howl to assemble their pack (wolves live and hunt in packs of about 6-10 animals), to greet each other, to identify their location, to attract a mate, to scare off enemies or simply howl when they wake up… like when we yawn in the morning, or simply because of the “lonesome wolf” cry. A compelling theory here is that howling reaches a peak in the winter months, during the time of courtship and breeding. This certainly seems to be the case in Teller’s “PEACEFUL NIGHT”.
So where does the moon come from? Some think that this whole moon-howling rumor stems from Native American art and mythology. For example, The Native American Seneca tribes believe that a wolf sung the moon into existence. And now we’ll talk about some of the differences between wolves and man’s best friend, the dog. The first thing you notice about a wolf is its piercing yellow eyes. Most dogs have brown eyes or sometimes blue. Wolves’ heads are larger because their brains are larger and therefore are more intelligent.. We know the dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf and dogs are seen in any place that is inhabited by people. Because dogs are domesticated, they have a weaker basic instinct to hunt. Wolves hunt in packs and have stronger molars than dogs, allowing them to rip open their prey’s throat or to crush large bones. Dogs need exercise like a daily walk. Wolves walk all day, every day. The paw of a dog is half the size of a wolf’s. Dogs are affectionate if taken care of, but wolves are wild animals and should not be bothered for affection. Dogs always live near humans, even if they are ownerless. Wolves love to live in packs away from civilization.
Last year about this time, I went to the Mohawk Trail up north and stopped in a souvenir shop. I was immediately drawn to a box with wolves painted on top. Since seeing the movie Dances with Wolves back in 1990, with Kevin Costner and that dear little wolf “Two Socks”, I have been fascinated with these mysterious animals and, with Hallowe’en coming around the corner, I still like to believe they are howling at the moon!
Have a great weekend and remember all of our greeting cards and pocket calendars are available for purchase at www.thasc.com
Two Socks & “Dances with Wolves”
THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.
Incredible information and painting!
Thank you, Scot!
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I love that picture peaceful night. They do
Look like German shepherds, but, l did not
Know they were much smarter than dogs.
Well, great picture,and intersting story. I
Would love to see wolfs, in my country,that
Would be really wonderful,to see!!!
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I think the painting is wonderful, two and even though wolves have a bad rap for their reputation, I still see the warm side in movies like Dances with Wolves and Twilight.
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Another informative and beautifully written piece. Keep them coming.
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Dear Connie, Your constant support means so much to me. Grazie! Remember we have il lupo in our blood!!!
Absolutely loved this blog Fabulous Informative and so interestong
We used to have a wonderful German Shepherd mix named Siegfried, who lived to age 17. However, we always joked that he must have some wolf in him because he seldom listened to us and often seemed intent on running off to freedom. And, of course, I remember Prince, as you and Joe certainly do, although I’m not sure how “wolfish” he was, but he did live in a Roman-blooded home!
What a great story about your German Shepherd. I Believe that Prince had a lot of wolf in him! He had quite a howl for a dog.
I think Prince lived to a ripe old age. Joe would know better than I but he is buried in our backyard and many times I go out to the tree where he is and say hello.
Thanks for the nice reply. I remember when Joe buried Prince; it was a sad time. It’s also nostalgic to remember when the fields beyond were not filled with houses.
BTW, in response to an earlier question, I sent a message to your gmail account because some of the information is outside the scope of the blog.
Thank you so much, Chad, for taking the time to write an interesting comment. Will write soon!!!
Your comment means so much to me. I love the story of Romulus and Remus and the She-wolf.
We Italians all have a bit of that howl don’t you think?
Maria, I enjoyed reading your very informative piece about wolves. I read that they are monogamous – they take one mate for life. In Native American medicine they represent teacher. I, too, have always been fascinated by wolves. I guess it’s my Roman blood! Mr. Teller’s acrylic painting captures the essence of a peaceful night. When I look at it, I feel the hush of newly fallen snow . It’s a magical and peaceful feeling. Thank you, Maria, for another wonderful blog and ,Mr. Teller, for a beautiful painting.
And thank you, Rosaleen, for another wonderful and informative comment!!
What an informative article. Keep them coming, I look forward to them. Melfred’s painting is really beautiful. THASC is really doing a good job publishing the work of these wonderful artists.
Thanks so much, Jan. Glad you are home. I appreciate you taking the time to write a comment. xo, Marua
Wolves Totality submissive on behave of the environment.
Dogs The gods spelled backwards
Wow, Bobby, I never noticed that about Dogs. I learn something more every day from all of you who leave me information. Thank you for taking the time to write!!
A little late in commenting but I still wanted to for this one. Wolves are one of my favorite animals to work with. We have two arctic hybrid wolves and two timber wolves where I work. They are such amazing animals to work with. They were there before I started and I was told they learned to howl from the donkeys braying. Every morning when they are let out the first thing they all do is howl. The donkeys and horses bray, the peacocks scream, the birds chirp, and the gibbon is the loudest of them all. Early morning sounds I will never get sick of. Our wolves also howl at ambulances and other sirens as well. The arctic hybrids are much friendlier and outgoing, the timbers take time to trust new people. Once they trust you they are full of love. They love belly rubs and affection. A lot of guests think they are ferocious animals but they are not. Wild wolves are more afraid of people than people are of them. I see that every day with our timber wolves. They are timid around new people and large groups and prefer to hide in their several dens. But, when we have one on one time they are the biggest love bugs. It’s so sad to know that their numbers in the US have been essentially decimated. They play an important role in our ecosystem and help control other wildlife populations. They are opportunistic though and because of that are not liked by farmers with livestock. I wish there were a better way for farmers and wolves to coexist, I for one would love to see the population rise in north America. There are so many different species of wolves and many are on the brink of extinction. This painting is a wonderful depiction of arctic wolves. I also love your pictures.