Wolves are the largest wild members of the dog family. They live in packs and have to co-operate in order to survive. The Arctic Wolf is a highly resilient animal which inhabits some of the most hostile terrain on earth.

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Introduction

Also known as the polar wolf or white wolf, the arctic wolf is a highly resilient animal. It has to be, as it inhabits some of the most hostile terrain on earth. The air temperature in its hunting grounds does not rise above -30°C in April, and this combines with wind chill to cause temperatures of -100°C or less. The ground is rarely unfrozen, and when a thaw occurs, it affects only the top few centimetres of soil. As the soil is poor, food for herbivores is also limited, and as the winter comes, the wolf's prey, large grazers such as musk ox and caribou are driven south to seek out better food. The wolves follow their prey south, returning to the north the following spring.

The Arctic wolf has several adaptations, which allow it to survive in the icy territory it calls home. For example, they have furry paws for warmth and to provide a better grip on ice. Their paws also have a heat exchanging mechanism so they remain cooler than the rest of the body and blood that enters the paws is used to heat up blood that is leaving them, so that the wolf can maintain a stable body temperature. This is the same mechanism used by water birds such as penguins and ducks. 

The artic wold also has especially thick fur, a thick layer of body fat and relatively small ears, to prevent heat loss. 

Read More: Wolf Packs and Hunting

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