Red Wolf

Rosie Steiger

The red wolf, or as it is known scientifically as Canis rufus, is a critically endangered species. Canis means large dog and rufus means red-headed. So together it would mean a red-headed large dog.



Red wolves can thrive in a wide range of habitats. From the forrest to swamps to and costal prairies. In history, red wolves can be found from Texas to Pennsylvania. Nowadays they can only be found wild in North Carolina. The North Carolina Albemarle Peninsula to be exact.

Community Interactions

Red wolves are dependent on mammals for their source of food. They hunt white-tailed deer, raccoons, birds and small animals such as rabbits and rodent. They have been known to prey on small house pets, but that happens few and far between. They were once the top predator in the south.

Feeding Relationships

Red wolves are carnivores, eating primarily meat from the animals they hunt. Although on occasion, they sometimes eat animals that already have been killed.


The red wolf is an apex predator. The red wolf get rid of the injured or old animals and once they have killed them and left it, it provides food for the scavengers. For example, a red wolf kills an injured deer and once it has eaten what it can it leaves. That then provides a food source for scavengers nearby. They have no natural predator and they play a key role in their ecosystem.

Population Dynamics

The red wolves were one of the first animals in the U.S. to become endangered. When that happened, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service started the Red Wolf Recovery Program. They reintroduced the red wolves on a peninsula in North Carolina where the roam wild and free but protected. Over the years, the ocean has slowly claimed most of that peninsula, limiting the carrying capacity of the area. Sadly, that is the only place where they are wild. Only around 100 wolves are there, being closely monitored.

Human Impact

Because of human habitation in America, the red wolf population has gone down. Red wolves get shot often by private land owners. Humans have created a more modern and efficient technology to put up buildings faster, many of the wild animals have left or been killed. This directly harms the red wolves because their habitat is being transformed into suburbs and shops. They use to reside in the eastern forests, but since humans have been in them the wolves tend to stray away. Humans have also taken red wolves from their pack and crossbreed them, lowering the amount of wild red wolves.

Cells/Cell Respiration

The red wolves, since they are animals, use cellular respiration. They need to use cellular respiration to take in oxygen to live. They have mitochondria to turn glucose into usable energy. Red wolves don't use photosynthesis because they are not plants. They have to hunt for their food, and cannot produce their own foods.

DNA/ Cell Reproduction

Red wolves reproduce using sexual reproduction. They typically have 2-8 pups and their gestation length is 60-63 days. They mate in late winter. Both male and female take part on raising the pups. The pups stick with their parents for the first year of their life. They use both meiosis and mitosis. Since meiosis only produces sex cells, mitosis takes over the rest.


The red wolf is in the kingdom animalia. Its phylum is chordata. Its class is mammalia and its order is carnivora. The red wolf's family is the canidae. Some animals that are similar to the red wolf is the grey wolf, Ethiopian wolf, coyote, black-backed jackal. They are all on the same genus level as the red wolf. Some animals that are in the same class as the red wolf are elephants, humans, cheetah, sea lions, and dolphins. There are more out there, but that is just a few. The wolf adapted to it's traits today because of it's environment. It did not need a thick skin of blubber because it wouldn't be swimming in the Arctic waters. It didn't need long fast legs like a cheetah because it would not have to hunt on long vast plains. The red wolf is different from it's close relative the grey wolf. It is different because of their locations. The red wolf hunts in forest-y areas in the south, where the red coloration of their coat would help the blend and stalk their prey better. It has less fur than the grey wolf because it lives in the south. It doesn't need a thick coat, because it does not need added heat.


Works Cited

BiodiversityWarriors. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

eNature. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

Kleberly. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

National Wildlife Federation. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

NatureWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

Slate. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

Wolfquest. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

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