Michigan DNR wolf identification

Gray wolves are slender, powerfully built animals with large, deeply descending ribcages and sloping backs. Their abdomens are pulled in, and their necks heavily muscled. Their limbs are long and robust, with comparatively small paws. The front paws have five toes each, while the back paws have four. The forelimbs are seemingly pressed into the chest, with the elbows pointed inward, and the feet outward. Females tend to have narrower muzzles and foreheads, thinner necks, slightly shorter legs and less massive shoulders than males. Wolves are very strong for their size, possessing sufficient strength to turn over a frozen horse or moose carcass.

Wolves' heads are large and heavy, with wide foreheads, strong jaws and long, blunt muzzles. The ears are relatively small and triangular. Wolves usually carry their heads at the same level as their backs, raising their heads only when alert.  They generally resemble German shepherds or huskies in bodily configuration.

Adult wolves are approximately 2.5 feet tall and 5-6 feet long.  They weigh between 80 and 120 lbs.

Coloring is generally light gray to black with some light brown.  Coat color ranges from almost pure white through various shades of blond, cream, and ochre to grays, browns, and blacks. Differences in coat color between sexes are largely absent, though females may have redder tones.  In Michigan the gray color predominates.

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