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Wolf Pups Howling in Sweden - nature landscape painting -

Wolf Pups Howling in Sweden

Wolf Pups Howling

Artist: Marcus Eldh
Grimsö, Sweden

A group of wolf pups howling across a lake in September.

Read on to discover further details about wolf vocalizations and wolves in Sweden.

Why do wolf pups howl?

Wolves howl to communicate information such as the location of other pack members and warnings about predators, or to defend their territories, coordinate hunts, and find mates. Wolf pups start to howl after just three to four weeks.

Aside from human hunters and death by traffic, wolves are most at risk of being killed or injured by members of other packs. For this reason, adult wolves are circumspect about when and where they howl, so as not to alert rivals of their location. 

Less experienced pups, on the other hand – especially those which are not yet four months old – are excited to howl and may respond to any howling they hear, regardless of whether it is made by individuals they know.

How many pups do wolves have?

Wolves’ mating season occurs in the spring, with pups being born before the start of summer. A litter may range from one to 10 pups, but three to six is typical. Initially, pups are kept in and around a den dug out of sandy ground or located in crevices around rocks.

Wolf packs are family groups, led by a pair-bonded male and female. Pups typically stay with this family for around a year, leaving prior to sexual maturity. However, some may remain, becoming close to subsequent generations of pups. Five to eight individuals is a standard pack size for wolves in Scandinavia, but there may be as many as 14 members.

What subspecies of wolves live in Sweden?

Sweden’s wolves are a subspecies of gray wolf: the Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus). Due to geographic variation, Eurasian wolves in Scandinavia and Russia are larger than those in Western Europe. 

How many wolves are there in Sweden?

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency estimated that, during 2022-23, there were a total of 85 family groups or packs in Scandinavia, made up of around 510 individuals. Four hundred and fifty of these were located in Sweden (though the territory of wolves in Sweden extends into Norway). However, 54 individuals were killed in a controversial cull in February 2023.

Historically, as rural economies declined from around the 1950s, hunting wolves for their fur or to keep them away from livestock also decreased, allowing their numbers to recover. Since the late 1970s, wolves have therefore been able to re-establish themselves in Sweden, primarily in dense forest. This genetically isolated population derives from three wolves which migrated to the area from a Russian-Finnish population (Finland’s neighbor, the Republic of Karelia of the Russian Federation, is home to a large population); additional individuals arrived in 2008. 

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