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Pups and Pregnancy

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Pups and Pregnancy

Post by Eternity on Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:19 pm

Pregnancy

Denning and Whelping
Two or three before a Wolf bitch whelps her puppies, she will sniff around for a place to make a den. If fate allows, she might take up residence in an old den, maybe a foxhole, or rock cave. Well established Wolf packs often use the same denning ground year after year. Carbon dating of bones around a well established den showed that Wolves had used the same site for almost 800 years. Note that it is only during the early spring, when a bitch prepares to whelp and rear the pups, that either she or the pack lingers around the den site. Failing an established den, the bitch will dig her own.
Inexperienced females sometimes dig shallow pits. Rarely a bitch may whelp above ground in the open. In this latter case the pups are usually moved later or may end up dying. Dens are often dug quite large, more than adequate for the bitch and her puppies. With an entrance half a meter (20 inches) wide or more, a tunnel extending 1.5 to 4 meters (6 to 14 feet) leads to a whelping chamber that can be 2 meters (6.5 feet) or more in diameter.
The den is a sacred place and the alpha female won't even allow her mate enter, although she may select an assistant from among the pack's other females to help her rear the pack puppies. Wolves love puppies and the entire pack eventually participates in their care.
When it's time to whelp, the bitch will enter her den and gives birth to her pups. The pups are born about 40 minutes apart; the umbilical cord is chewed off by the mother, the puppy is tongue-groomed clean, and then the placenta is eaten. The average litter size is four to six, but up to eleven have been documented. Pups are born sightless and deaf, and unable to maintain their body temperature independantly until about three weeks old. Puppies require a lot of motherly devotion in order to survive. The mortality rate for newborn Wolves making it to yearling is about 60%.
Mom will remain in the den for several days straight, licking and feeding the brood, and only after two or three days leave only briefly for a sip of water. Wolf pups are born quite strong and immediately begin competition with each other to reach mother's nipples. This struggle to suckle also establishes early social ranking. Wolf pups nurse five or six times a day for three to five minutes each feeding.
Pups will usually remain in their den for the first three or four weeks of their lives before mother allows them to venture forth into the light. During this time the mother is quite dependant on her mate and other pack members to bring her food in the form of meat that is often regurgitated for her.
Puppiness
Wolf pups are whelped from late March to early May. In northern climates litters may arrive as late as June, and in Southern climates as early as late February. Litter size ranges form one to eleven puppies; with an average of four to six. In areas where there have been intense activities to eradicate Wolves, average litter sizes tend to increase.Puppies that die during or after birth are usually buried by the mother. Sometimes the mother will carry a dead puppy around in her mouth, showing the little corpse to the members of the pack. It has even been observed where pack members will take turns doing this until someone finally buries the dead puppy. In captivity dead puppies might be eaten, this behavior has never been observed in the wild.
When the pups are born the entire pack is filled with excitement. It is well documented how much adult Wolves love puppies and how every pack member contributes to their care and education. The alpha bitch will not allow any other Wolves to come around when she whelps, not even the alpha male. Later, she might allow a select female to assist her in rearing and nursing the pups. Female Wolves are able to enter "false pregnancy" after estrus if they fail to conceive. While in this condition they lactate and are able to assist the alpha bitch with nursing the puppies.
Wolf puppies are born deaf and with their eyes closed. They have large heads and short thin tails. They tend to be born with dark fur which lightens as they age. When they open their eyes 10 to 13 days after birth, their eyes tend to be a very dark blue, which pails over the next several months until achieving their adult eye color. Adult Wolves very rarely may retain their blue eyes. There is only one example I know of where a captive adult Wolf was known to have blue eyes his entire life.
For the first few weeks, Wolf puppies nurse five or six times a day in feeding sessions lasting three to five minutes each. Wolf pups are weaned at five to eight weeks. During weaning, the puppies are fed regurgitated food brought to them by their pack mates when they return from hunting. The puppies will nuzzle and lick at the adults muzzle and lips to trigger regurgitation. At a couple months of age mothers will move their puppies away from the den site to what some call a "rendezvous site." This area is usually less than an acre in size, is near water, and is a place for the pups to play, romp, harass lazy adults, and learn their initial skills. Gradually the puppies start eating solid food and at twelve weeks begin to accompany adults on hunts.
Wolf puppies grow fast, gaining on average 79% of their body weight and 96% of their overall length in the first year of life. By six months of age the puppies are hard to distinguish from the adults and at eight months have virtually achieved their full grown stature.
Wolf Puppy Development

  • 10-13 days: eyes open.
  • 3 weeks: ability to hear. milk teeth appear. start exploring the den.
  • 4 weeks: leave the den. begin to eat meat. start to howl.
  • 5 weeks: start to travel up to a mile from the den.
  • 5-8 weeks: weaning and moved to the "rendezvous site."
  • 12 weeks: start to follow along on hunts.
  • 4-7 months: loose milk teeth.
  • 7-8 months: start to hunt.
The mortality rate for Wolf puppies is very high in the wild. An average of 60% of pups die before reaching a year of age, with the mortality range being 6-80%. Wolves mourn dead puppies. There have been documented occurrences of males raising puppies by themselves after their mate has been killed. Wolves understand the importance of family, and love each other just as a human family might.
Please do not take affence to the word 'bitch' as it is used many times, and I cannot see myself correcting each word and changing it to Female. As I might leave some saying Bitch, by over seeing it. e.e I dislike the word, but im sorry the info was found here:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
I prefer the term 'alas', she-wolf, or fae.


Wolf Pup Physical & Social Development

Neonatal Period: Birth to Eyes Open (12 to 14 days) and Period of Maximal Growth
BIRTH

[*]Have dark fur, rounded heads and are unable to regulate their own body temperature
[*]Blind with closed eyes, deaf with small ears, and a "pugged" nose with little if any sense of smell but a good sense of taste and touch
[*]Limited to a slow crawl, mainly with front legs but have a good sense of balance
[*]Are limited to sucking and licking; can whine and yelp
[*]Will feed four or five times a day for periods of three to five minutes
[*]Average females gain 2.6 lbs and males 3.3 lbs per week for the next 14 weeks

Transitional Period: Eye Opening to 20-24 Days
2 WEEKS

[*]Eyes open and are blue at 11-15 days but their eyesight is not fully developed and pups cannot perceive forms until weeks later
[*]Milk incisors present at 15 days; can eat small pieces of regurgitated meat
[*]Begin to stand and walk; vocalizations include growls, whimpering and squeaks, first high-pitched attempts at howling
[*]Weight: 3.5 lbs
Socialization Period: 20-24 Days to 77 Days
3 WEEKS

[*]Begin appearing outside of the den and playing near the entrance
[*]Ears begin to raise around 27 days and hearing improves significantly
[*]Around 31 days the ears are erect but with tips still flopping
[*]Canines and premolar teeth present
4 WEEKS

[*]Growth of adult hair around nose and eyes
[*]Disproportionately large feet and head
[*]Short, high-pitched howls are gaining strength
[*]Mother may go off for hours on end to hunt
[*]Dominance and play fighting begin
5 WEEKS

[*]Gradual process of weaning begins
[*]Can follow adults up to a mile away from the den
Juvenile Period: 12 Weeks to Sexual Maturity (1 - 3 years)
8 - 16 WEEKS

At 8 to 10 weeks:
[*]Adults abandon den and move pups to a rendezvous site
[*]Weaning complete, pups feed on food provided by adults
[*]Adult guard hair becomes apparent on body

At 8 to 16 Weeks:
[*]Eyes gradually change from blue to yellow-gold
12 WEEKS

[*]Pups begin to follow adults on hunting trips for a short while and return to the den by themselves
[*]Weight: 22-30 lbs
Period of Rapid Growth: 14 - 27 Weeks
14 - 27 WEEKS

[*]Pups will gain approximately 1.3 lbs. per week over the next three months
[*]Weight: 28-70 lbs
4 - 6 MONTHS

[*]Milk teeth replaced
[*]Winter fur becomes apparent and pup appearance is nearly indistinguishable from adults
[*]Pups begin to accompany adults on hunts
Period of Slow Growth: 27 - 51 Weeks
7 - 8 MONTHS

[*]Female pups will gain approximately .07 lbs. per week and male pups will gain approximately .4 lbs. per week
[*]Pups begin to travel with pack
[*]Begin actively hunting
1 YEAR

[*]Epiphyseal cartilage closes off signaling the end of skeletal growth
[*]Pups status in the pack may start to take shape with pups displaying either more dominant or submissive behaviors
[*]Weight: 60-100 lbs
Sexual Maturity: 1 to 3 Years
1 - 3 Years

[*]Hormonal changes signal sexual maturity
[*]May choose to disperse from pack
[*]Weight: 60-100+ lbs

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