Wolves used to roam the entire United States. With their gray and brown fur and bushy tails, they hunted in small packs of six to eight wolves and co-existed with the Native Americans. There were a million wolves roaming the US, from Florida to Washington to Texas. Teddy Roosevelt pushed for the eradication of wolves and by 1960, there were only an estimated 300 wolves in the lower US. Thankfully, with conservation efforts and repopulation, wolves are once again howling in the woods of America—though there’s a long way to go before the population is stable.
In New York state, where the Shifter Wars takes place, wolves are in the national forest. In reality, there is a debate to whether there are wolves roaming the woods of the Adirondacks. I’d like to think there are at least a few making their home there.
Here are five fun facts about the North American Gray Wolf:
• Wolves have 42 teeth. I wouldn’t want to run into that bite!
• A wolf’s sense of smell is 100 times greater than a human’s. Yeah, he can smell you from a long way off!
• Wolves can run up to 40mph. That’s…fast. Never try to outrun a wolf!
• Wolves bark, whine, howl and growl. They don’t howl at the moon but they do tend to howl when the night is lighter, for example, if the moon is bright.
• Wolves mate for life! I love this fact about them and love using “fated mates” as a trope in stories. It’s so romantic.
With the reintroduction of wolves into the wild and more being captive bred, we might one day see many more wolves out in our forests. I think that’s pretty cool. My college mascot was a wolf, so I’ve always been interested in them and though wolves don’t play football or basketball, I think they are really interesting animals.
Whether a shifter is wolf, bear, lion, bird, or other animal, I enjoy taking characteristics of the species and trying to translate them into the characters’ actions and reactions. Wolves are fun to work with.
USA Today bestselling author Kerry Adrienne loves history, science, music and art. She’s a mom to three daughters, many cats, and various other small animals. She loves live music and traveling most anywhere. She can also be found online on Facebook and Twitter.
In addition to being an author, she’s a college instructor, artist, costumer, editor, and bad guitar player.