Wolf Communication – Body Language
The wolf is one of the best communicators out there when it comes to the use of body language. They way that they walk as well as where they stand in comparison to the alpha male will tell you a great deal about where they fall in the social hierarchy of the pack. Scent markers are a way that they go about marking their territory. The area that a wolf pack covers can be up to 35 km2 in some locations so they want to be sure other wolves don’t come around.
Rolling around on the ground to rub their scent also is a great way to communicate with other members of their pack. It can be a way to invite them to take part in sharing space with them. it gives the message that they are approachable instead of on the defensive. In a wolf pack, being aware of the mood of the others in it is very important for individual survival.
Many people are surprised that the design of the wolf’s hair on the coat can be a form of body language as well. Some of the things that are known in the pack from it include if the wolf is anger because he will put on two legs for a few seconds, to show dominance, and even as a sign of aggression when they need to be protective. There are scent glands under the tail that allow wolves to leave their scent behind.
Many experts believe that the use of scent and other body language allows wolves to communicate much more than the vocalizations that we are all familiar with. Therefore you may be in an area where there are wolves but not realize it because you don’t hear them.
When a wolf feels threatened you will immediately see a change in the way the body is carried. This type of language is an indicator that the wolf is ready to defend itself at any cost. The ears will be held high and the legs are very rigid. They eyes will be wide and the tail will be straight up. Even while walking the body has a very stiff appearance to it.
The young have some body language that they use as well. Coming to the adults and nipping at their mouths indicates that they are hungry. These young pups are then fed regurgitated meat from other wolves in the pack.
They young can also be seen rubbing against the sides of the older wolves. This is a sign of affection. Many experts agree this is the way that they show they are content within the pack. It means that they have been well cared for. It is similar to a child giving an adult a hug.
They young can also be seen rolling around wrestling, gently biting, and even laying on their backs and using their paws. The adult wolves will play in this way with them to help them get stronger. It is also to teach the young about self defense. The young may continue to test boundaries during such play. The body language of the adult wolves will indicate to them when they have gone too far. Otherwise they will continue to push the limits.
When there are conflicts within a wolf pack, those with more rank may have to show the lower ranking one who is in charge. This will cause the lower ranking wolf to lie down and to rethink its position. It is very rare that the situation will escalate to physical fighting within a wolf pack.