How Strong Is A Wolf? Wolf Bite Force

Wolf Bite Force

Wolves are magnificent animals. Born for the wild, they live in packs and attack animals much larger than them. So how do they prevail when they attack a bison? The answer lies in their teeth. When the wolf clamps their jaws on the hide of an animal, it’s hard for that prey to escape. You can thank that powerful bite for the survival of the wolf as a species.

A wolf’s bite is around 400 pounds. But when the grown-up wolf is in attack mood, that bite could reach about 1,200 pounds. Just think of the powerful jaws behind such a bite. To put that in perspective, a jaguar only as a 700-pound bite in comparison.

But there’s more to the graceful wolf than just a horrific bite. In fact, it’s not just the muscle strength of the jaws that makes the bite so potent. You also have to consider the teeth of the wolf. So we have a lot to cover here.

What is a Wolf’s Bite Force?

A wolf’s bite force measures 400 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI) on average.

Here’s how a wolf bite compares:

  • Hyena: 1100 PSI
  • Lion: 650 PSI
  • Mastiffs: 556 PSI
  • Humans: 120-160 PSI

Wolves need this strong bite force to tackle large prey such as elk, deer, bison, and moose in the wild. Their strong jaw strength significantly aids their hunting and feeding behavior.

Factors That Contribute to Their Powerful Bite

Wolves possess key physiological and behavioral adaptations that contribute to their strong bite force.

Powerful Jaw Muscles

  • Wolves have large temporalis and masseter muscles on each side of their jaws.
  • These muscles help in opening and closing the wolves’ long snouts.
  • They enable wolves to clamp down with significant force during a bite.
  • These muscles attach towards the back of the skull, providing increased leverage and strength, and thus generating substantial pressure.
  • When fully flexed, a wolf’s jaw muscles alone can exert over 400 psi.

Large Teeth

  • Wolves have 42 sharp teeth specialized for biting, shearing meat, and cracking bones.
  • The wolf’s forceful bite is effectively spread out due to the large surface area of its different teeth.
  • Wolves use their long fangs to deeply pierce flesh.
  • The back molars can exert intense pressure, perfect for crunching heavy bones.

Hunting Behavior

  • Wolves primarily hunt large prey such as deer, elk, and bison, all of which are dangerous animals equipped to fight back.
  • Taking down such large and powerful prey has led to specialized adaptations related to their jaw strength.
  • Generations of wolves honing techniques to tackle robust prey have bred incredibly strong bites.
  • Their bites have evolved to help exhaust and damage these animals which are often bigger and stronger.

Can a Wolf Bite Through Bone?

Most predators can crush bones with just nothing but the sheer power of their jaws. The wolf is no exception in this case. Thanks to their powerful jaws and strong bite the wolf can pulverize the mightiest of bones in just a few seconds. Why do they need to eat bones, you might ask? It has to do with what’s inside the bones.

Bones are full of nutritious marrow which to a hungry wolf is the best meal they could have. So when the pack of wolves has stripped the prey they just killed off the last morsel of meat, it’s time to devour the marrow inside the bones. It’s quite a spectacle to see the hungry wolves going through the tough bones of the wildebeest or water buffalo like a hot knife in butter.

How Many Teeth Do Wolves Have?

With such large jaws, you’d expect the wolf to have more teeth than humans. And you’d be right to think that. On average, the adult wolf has 42 teeth. But unlike humans, the teeth of the wolf are no divided equally between the upper and lower jaws.

The law jaw of the wolf has more teeth than the upper jaw. This helps the predator pulverize the most stout bone they can come across. The four canines at the bottom jaw help the wolf tear through the toughest hide and get to the succulent meat with little issues.

How Long are Wolf Teeth?

Perhaps the canines or fangs are the most important set of teeth the wolf has. That’s because they play a major role in clamping those powerful jaws on the hide of the struggling prey. The canines or fangs are about two and a half inches long each. And they are sharp as razors.

When the wolf latches onto the hind legs of the bison, the canines penetrate the thick hide and tear into the flesh. This weakens the prey that eventually bleeds out and becomes a quick meal to the hungry wolves.

Do Wolf Teeth Grow Back?

That depends on what type of teeth these are. If the puppy loses its baby teeth, they will replace them without an issue. But an adult wolf cannot grow back its teeth if it loses them. And since the teeth are the most powerful weapon the wolf has, it’s hard to see a wolf surviving without them.

That said, it’s hard to see how a wolf could lose its adult teeth. They are so sharp and powerful they could go through tough bones. So unless the wolf starts biting into rocks or metal, these tough teeth are there to stay throughout the wolf’s life.

Do Wolves Lose Their Baby Teeth?

Yes just like human babes, wolves start their earl lives as puppies with milk teeth. These are soft teeth with hardly any bite to them. The reason they’re born with them is to make it easier for the puppies to suckle without hurting their wolf mom.

But before they reach adulthood, the baby teeth are the first to go. This is a signal that the wolf is turning from a puppy into an adult ready to take on what life throws at them. They are replaced quickly with permanent teeth that go through hides, flesh, and bones with ease.

How Big Can a Wolf Get?

While not as formidable in size as other predators, the wolf is nonetheless a fierce predator to be taken seriously. The adult wolf averages anything between 4 to 6 feet in height. That puts it on the same footing as an adult human. So think about that the next time you visit the wilderness.

As for weight, the adult male reaches about 180 pounds at full maturity. As for the female she averages 130 pounds on a good day. For the male, that weight is mostly muscles. These are very strong animals and you have to go out of your way to avoid meeting them.

At What Age is a Wolf Fully Grown?

Around the first year of its life that the puppy wolf loses its baby teeth. But it still is in a growing phase and cannot be considered an adult yet. It will take about another year for the wolf to reach its full height and size.

Weight-wise, the wolf will fluctuate from one season to the next depending on the food. But by the end of the second year, the wolf is considered an adult and can join a pack or hunt on its own.

How Long Do Wolf Pups Stay with Mom?

For the most part, the wolf puppies remain with their mom for the first two years of their lives. Sometimes, they will leave sooner depending on how developed they are. But in lean times when the food is scarce, they will stay under their mom’s protection for full two years. Coincidently, that’s how long it takes the wolf to grow from a puppy into an adult.

What is a Mother Wolf Called?

A mother wolf is called a mother-wolf. A bunch of those mommies is called mover-wolves. There’s no special word for it. You just have to make sure to avoid a mother-wolf whether she’s nursing or not. That’s when she becomes very protective of her pups and would consider any intruder as a threat to them.

Do Wolves Bark?

In general, dogs bark and wolves howl. It’s what separates the two. Although dogs are domesticated wolves, wild wolves retain the full rights to the howl. It’s a long and jarring sound that sends shivers down the fiercest of animals.

Wolves can whimper and growl as well. But it’s the howl that’s their trademark and no other animals can imitate it or produce a similar sound. A wolf howling at the moon is an image every hunter keeps in memory forever.

Are Wolves Good Parents?

Are Wolves Good Parents

Yes they are. In fact, without a good mom to look after them wolf puppies have little chance of survival. Just think of all the other predators looking for an easy meal out there in the jungle. A lone wolf pup is simply the easiest meal a predator could come across. The wolf pup is not fast nor can it defend itself with those baby teeth. It needs its mom to protect it.

What is a Wolf’s Life Cycle?

From the moment they’re born, the wolf pup’s purpose is to grow strong every day. They have a lifespan similar to dogs and live to about 13 years. Around the time they become 2 years old, they’re old enough to start life on their own. They say bye to their mom and go join another pack.

From 2 to 10 years old, a male wolf can reproduce. But the last 3 years of their life, they lost much of their strength, and only living in a pack would keep them alive.

Can a Female Wolf be an Alpha?

Actually the word alpha doesn’t exist in the life of the pack. In a pack, the breeding couple is called the alpha couple. This means both the male and female wolf have privileges. They eat first when they make a kill and are treated with respect. So in a way, the gender of the wolf plays little role in their social status in the pack.

Do Wolves Mourn Their Dead?

Because they live in a tightly knit pack, wolves have a sense of community that can only be matched by a herd of elephants. When they lose a member, the pack usually mourns the lost wolf and feel it for days if not weeks. It says a lot about these fierce animals that live in the wild and don’t seem to be afraid of anything.

Do Wolves Like to Swim?

Not unless they have to. These are animals that run, hunt, and live on land. They will think twice before crossing a creek or a small body of water. This might happen if they are chasing a prey. But in normal circumstances, the wolf would go out of its way to avoid crossing a large body of water. Swimming just doesn’t come naturally for them. They prefer to keep their hide dry and fluffy.

Can Wolves Smell Period Blood?

Wolves smell blood, period. This could be the blood of a wounded animal or the blood of a menstruating female. They have a sharp sense of smell and like sharks would detect and gravitate to the smell of blood. So women going on a safari are usually asked not to go out while they are on their period. This can attract wild animals including wolves. 

How Far Away Can Solves Smell Blood?

While sharks can smell a single drop of blood in the ocean miles away, a wolf needs to be a little closer to the source of blood than that. Moreover, it has to be more than a few drops of blood to get the attention of a hungry wolf. Some wolves can smell blood a mile or so away. But they have to be downwind and there’s a strong breeze carrying that scent for them to detect it.

Do Wolves Stalk Their Prey?

You bet. Wolves are master stalkers. They will plan ahead and try to trap the prey. If the prey is in a pack, they’ll try to separate the weakest prey from the pack and attack it with ferocity. Without planning, they would go hungry. So they work together by instinct and each one knows their role. It’s in their genes.

How Well Do Wolves See in the Dark?

Wolves are equipped with a powerful vision that can see in the dark as well. At night, they can distinguish many gray shades than humans or other predators. As a result, wolves are better equipped to hunt at night. But since they are wild animals that hunt for food not pleasure, only hungry wolves would hunt at night. Their usual routine is to hunt during the day where they can see better and where most animals are active.

How Far Can a Wolf Run in a Day?

Wolves are athletic animals. On a good day a wolf might run anything between 10 to 30 miles without showing signs of stress. They spend most of this running chasing prey rather than playing. The usual pace for the wolf is a light trot. Except when they have just finished a heavy meal, that’s when they have a leisurely pace and tend to be playful. In other words, they don’t run unless they have to.

How Fast a Wolf Can Run?

Speed is essential for the survival of the wolves. Not because they have to run away from a predator, but mainly because they have to chase some very fast prey in the wilderness. Deer are some of the fastest animals on earth and a wolf will have to be fast to catch such a delicious meal.

On average the adult wolf can reach speeds of 25 miles an hour. It can keep this speed for 2 miles straight. That allows it to catch up with faster animals that don’t have the stamina to keep up their high speed for long distances.

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