I like to provide another update on Fang based on some recent events: Fang is now settled in comfortably in his new enclosure and can be seen to increasingly interact in a friendly way with his female pack companions. However, his size of 130 pounds does make him a bully and his play rough-and-tumble, therefore intimidating to his “girls”. But his real character shows when it is feeding time.
Yesterday was such a day, as the storm had dropped a couple of trees on the fence and repairs were needed. To distract the wolves and keep them out of our way, we provided them with a number of beavers. The routine is now that we do not even have to take these into the enclosure, Fang readily welcomes us as soon as we approach the feeding door and submissively crouches along it. However, he quickly grows impatient and if we don’t hurry he starts jumping against the fence, pummeling it with his large paws. As soon as the door opens, he sticks his head through, waiting to be handed a beaver. Of course we oblige and he quickly turns and carries the 20 pound carcass a few meters away. He pulls open the body cavity and gorges himself on the intestines. This provides time for us to get another beaver ready. As long as I can hold onto it inside the enclosure, he is fine to play tug-a-war. However, as soon as I let go, which commonly is quite soon since my grip on a greasy beaver cannot compete with the fangs of Fang, the beaver is his and he lets me know in no uncertain terms.
If you thought that Fang was a gentleman, sharing his beavers with the female wolves in the pack, far from it! He hoards all beavers in one feeding and by now it is a game between him, the “girls” and me, trying to sneak a beaver by Fang or at least distract him long enough to provide Luna, the future alpha female and boldest of the female wolves, an opportunity to snatch one of the beavers out of the stash. Now Luna, Leila, Maple and Molly can also enjoy an early meal, without having to wait until Fang, the Pasha, is finished.
Once Fang is well fed and satisfied, he is a different animal altogether. He is playful and even affectionate. Well, as affectionate as 130 pounds of bouncing wolf with 34 sharp teeth can be. At this point – and this will be very important to maintain – he readily submits, throwing himself on his back and enjoying a frequent belly-rub. He does acknowledge a stern “NO” for an answer and even takes the odd slap on his muzzle.
Winter is around the corner for the wolves at Haliburton Forest and with it the re-shuffle of the pack prior to mating season. This will be an exciting time indeed, especially for Fang, who will hopefully rise to the occasion and become a worthy alpha male!
Pictures for this post by Hermann Thoene