January started out cold and snowy. The Wolves were lucky enough to enjoy some snow in the first and second week. We didn’t get much but enough to make them happy. I took advantage of both snow days to take some pictures of them for this year’s adoptions.
Breeding season is pretty peaceful since our females are not in the same enclosure. Woha went into proestrus in December. She has spent a lot of time this month digging dens all over the enclosure. Unfortunately, when it rains they fill up with water. We know she will not need them, but she sure thinks she does. Ohoyo usually starts her proestrus then as well but this year we went through the entire month of December and most of January before she started. I thought her advanced age had affected her cycle. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact she was so late.
Since Chito, our songstress and Alpha passed away, the Wolves have been pretty quiet vocally. Normally during breeding season they howl several times a night. Not this year. I was in there a few days ago, when Niko started to howl. He is our soprano and I could tell he was having a hard time getting the sound out. I think I will have to encourage them to sing on a regular basis or their voices will become weak. I believe that the reasons they are howling less are twofold. First, Chito was the Wolf who started the chorus howls. She loved to sing. She also often sang alone. Secondly, howling makes them vulnerable. When there were more Wolves, they felt more secure in announcing their presence. Every time we heard coyotes, the Wolves would respond with a howl. Now, they are just really quiet. Below you will find a video of a Wolf duet. The soprano is Niko Akni and the tenor, Woha.
Woha gave me a bit of a hard time this month. During the really cold, single digit days, I wore my warmest trapper hat into the enclosure. She freaked out. Now, I’ve worn it a few times in previous years but for some reason, this year she was petrified of me in it. I tried talking to her the whole time so she knew it was me but she would just frantically run away. Even when I was outside of the enclosure fence, she was still afraid of me. For days after that, even though I didn’t wear the hat anymore, she would run away when I entered the enclosure. I was getting concerned. I even brought in treats but she wasn’t having any of that. I finally washed all of my winter gear figuring the scent must still be on my outer wear from the hat. It was a little better after I did that. She would approach me but if I extended my hand, she would run away. I was very upset because it’s hard to care for a Wolf that you can’t touch plus I was naturally used to cuddling this girl from the time she was 8 days old. So, I decided to totally ignore her and concentrate on the other Wolves. Day by day she got closer and I just pretended she wasn’t there. Then one day, when I was unlocking the gates to come inside, she got up on the gate crying and whimpering, like “Where have you been?” When I got inside she was all over me, giving me kisses and cuddles. It was like she finally knew for sure it was me. It must have taken all that time for the smell of that hat to totally come out of my clothing and hair. Thankfully we are good buds again and the warmest hat I own will officially be retired from the Wolf enclosure.