A follow up to our love story starring our alpha wolves Fang and Luna.
Wolves have a somewhat complicated mating ritual: There is first a period of courtship which generally begins in January and lasts 2 months or longer. During this time the female makes herself blatantly available to the male by tempting him with her behaviour and body parts. Much different than the human cue of buying drinks at a bar, with wolves it’s the female who must make the first move!
When the male has been sufficiently enticed the female goes into a period of heat and mating season begins. It lasts a very short 1-2 weeks so all that prep work done during the courtship is remarkably important! During this time the alpha male will only mate with the alpha female and she will inflict stress on the other females in the pack to ensure that she is the only one to come into heat. This makes her the only candidate who is physically able to become pregnant. Sometimes in the wild there will be a beta pair (who can be likened to managers if the alpha pair are CEO’s) who will also mate if the pack dynamics and territory allow for more members. This does not happen in our pack, though, as the space limits them to one litter per year. The other members of the pack are excited about the prospect and the final arrival of pups 63 days after mating. Each adult will then play a role in raising and influencing the little fluff balls.
Reflections upon the conclusion of this year’s mating season are positive but not conclusive. The pair was witnessed consistently displaying mating behaviour: muzzle sniffing and licking, walking together, genital sniffing, playful mounting, standing shoulder to shoulder, nuzzling etc. Although the sacred ‘copulatory tie’ was never witnessed, there are many unobserved hours in the winter season. Couples tend to prefer privacy for those sorts of activities anyway! Our staff are still observing the handsome couple spending most of their time together and hopes are high that the deed did in fact get done. We won’t know definitively for another couple of months but if we see any promising signs we will certainly share them!!
For now, we’d like to share some amazing photos of Fang and Luna snapped recently by Nicole Lee Photography. Thanks for sharing your images!
If you missed the first installment of this love story, please click here.