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Do Wolves Hibernate: [Complete Guide]

Settlers and pioneers needed wolves to sled them to the furthest reaches of the earth so that they could prospect for gold. If not for the wolf, America might have never experienced the gold rush.But your not here for a history lesson. With that said, Do wolves hibernate?

Wolves don’t hibernate. The wolf goes about his regular routines, remaining active regardless of the brutal temperature or weather. Wolves always try to stay as active as possible, seeking food, shelter, or whatever else is needed for their daily survival and the survival of their family.

While temps of -33 F and 0 F might seem extremely inhospitable, you might be surprised to learn that the wolf fairs quite well. In fact, it is during the warmer months that they will struggle. Wolves don’t fare so well in warmer climates, but that is a whole different topic for an entirely different day.

Wolves aren’t bothered by these temps as much as other species because they have a double coat of fur.

This fur is rather for temperatures of -40 F and their undercoat is made of short hairs that are so thick they were once used by the United States military to line the parkas of soldiers.

Fortunately, this is no longer a modern practice, as it was outlawed and banned in the late 70s.

Along with this, the wolf has outer guard hairs that are much longer but are designed specifically this way to protect the undercoat from moisture. A wolf’s body is also extremely efficient when it comes to maintaining body heat. You could literally pack snow on top of a wolf and its body would melt that snow because it doesn’t lose any body heat.

Combine this with the special blood vessels in their toes that keep their footpads from freezing, and you can clearly see that the wolf was a creature that was bred for the harsh winter weather.

Wolves Sleeping Habits

Do Wolves Hibernate


Wolves do need to sleep like other creatures. And, when they do so in such temperatures, they’ll curl into a ball, covering their nose with their tail. This allows it to conserve and direct the exhaled warm air towards the feet and nose.

In addition to this, wolves always travel in packs, so you can bet they sleep in packs as well. They’ll curl up next to their mates making a unified effort to keep the entire clan warm.

Understanding The Species

Something that you need to know is that there are three main species of wolves currently known. While there might be 40 subspecies, it is the 3 main species that most widely know.

Given that there are 3 main species and 40 different subspecies, you can imagine that the wolf comes available in varying sizes.

The most common amongst these would be the gray wolf or the timber wolf. An adult version of this species can grow anywhere from 4 to 6.56 feet long and weigh in at anywhere from 40 to 175 pounds.

As the name indicates, these wolves are usually bred with thick, gray fur. However, there are some pure white and all black variations out there.

Another common species if the red wolf. While this wolf is known for being a bit smaller, it can grow anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 feet long with a weight of anywhere from 50 to 80 pounds.

You can see that this species isn’t nearly as big as the gray or timber wolf, but it isn’t lacking much.

Understanding The Habitat

One interesting thing about wolves and probably one of the things that make then so well known is that they can be found all over the found.

You’ll find them in parts of North AmericaOpens in a new tab., Europe, Asia, and even as far as North Africa. They like to stick to the remotest of wildernesses, although the red wolves will sometimes live in swamps.

That being said, you’ll likely find the gray or timber wolf in the coastal prairies and forests.

Many people are under the misconception that wolves only live in colder climates, but time has proven that this isn’t the case at all. According to the San Diego Zoo, wolves can acclimate and live in temperatures that range anywhere from 70 to 120 degrees.

A subspecies known as the Eastern wolf or Great Lake wolf, Eastern timber wolf, Algonquin wolf, or deer wolf resides in the northeastern part of the United States. This species is a distant relative from their Western cousins, but can only mostly be found in southeastern Canada today.


Born and bred for the harsh winter temperatures and conditions, the wolf was specifically designed to withstand anything that the coldest regions of the world can throw at it.

You can already see from the information above how their bodies were designed to combat such temperatures and conditions, but this doesn’t make hunting in such conditions any less challenging.

Deep snow hunting in the perilous winter temps can be extremely challenging, but they possess an innate ability to adapt and thrive. This is probably why they don’t feel the need to hibernate.

For more info on this topic, check out these sites.
Why do bears hibernate but wolves don’t?
How Do Wolves Keep Warm?

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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