The Maned Wolf - Info, Facts and PhotosManed Wolf

Maned Wolf

The maned wolf was born to run. With its extremely long legs, the wolf can move swiftly through the tall grasses that cover its habitat.

Its height also allows the wolf to see over the top of the grass in its South American habitat. Some people have described the maned wolf as a fox on stilts.

The maned wolf is named for the dark mane of hair on its neck.

Maned WolfThe wolf raises its mane when it feels threatened or wants to frighten away other animals.

But this creature is usually shy and prefers to live alone. It stakes out a large territory of its own and marks the area with urine. Fiercely possessive of its territory, the wolf will threaten, and may even fight, any other maned wolf that crosses the urine path.

Maned Wolf - huntingThe maned wolf usually hunts at night, relying on its excellent senses of sight, hearing, and smell. Typically, it lies in wait for insects, lizards, agoutis, pacas, and other small animals.

When prey comes near, the maned wolf leaps at the prey, grabs it in its mouth, and shakes the victim to death. When its usual prey is not available, the maned wolf adds bird eggs and plants to its diet. Sometimes the wolf will even store food for use at a later time.

When in storing mode, the wolf digs a hole in the ground with its front paws, puts the food in the hole, and then uses its snout to cover the hole with soil.

The wolf will return to this "pantry" when food is scarce in the wild.

Maned WolfIt is the biggest canid in South America. It is found in parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru and more sparsely in Uruguay.  It is the only species of the Chrysocyon genus.

It is a unique animal, not closely related to any other species found today, although historically, the now extinct Falkland Island wolf was related to it. Out of living species, the bush dog is the one that is its closest relative.

With its red fur and fluffy tail, it looks like a fox with long legs. Its resemblance with foxes is also due to the fur’s colour.

But it is much different from foxes; in fact it is not even related to them. In size it is a lot bigger, an adult maned wolf reaching heights of over 1 meter.

Unlike other canids from the same family the maned wolfs are solitaire hunters and don’t live in packs.

Maned WolfIt also has a very unique scent, being nicknamed by some “the skunk wolf”.

While it is not classified as endangered, the maned wolf is considered to be vulnerable in Brazil and it is considered near threatened internationally.

Maned wolves differ from the North American wolf featured in the movie “Dances with Wolves”, as their diet includes fresh fruit as well as small mammals. In the wild they eat agouti, which is similar to a guinea pig, birds, armadillos and small reptiles, as well as fruits and leaves.

A maned wolfTheir numbers have declined to around 2,200 in the wild because of human persecution and the loss of traditional habitat.

For locals the maned wolf is both dangerous and mystical.  Some parts of their body, like the eyes, the skin or the tail used to be widely used in traditional medicine as they believed the animal had supernatural properties.

This practice was drastically reduced by now, although there are fears that it is still being hunted by the indigenous population. It was also erroneously considered as a threat for poultry and this fact made it even more vulnerable in its relationship with humans.

The maned wolf also loses its habitat because of the deforestation that is occurring on the continent. Its territory gets more and more invaded by the local population who use the acquired land for farming.