The maned wolf is known for its odd name and interesting appearance. It looks like a fox and a wolf mixed together but the truth will surprise you. The surprising truth is, the maned wolf isn’t really a wolf, and its not a fox either. The maned wolf isn’t even closely related to other Canids. Oddly enough, the maned wolf actually belongs to the completely different genus than foxes and wolfs. And to make things even more unusual and interesting, the maned wolf is actually the only species in its genus.
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They can be found mostly in Brazil and Paraguay, they are big fans of grass and open habitats with some medium and high vegetation. They are considered to be nearly threatened, meaning they are not endangered species yet, but their population is heavily decreasing.
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The maned wolf has quite a few names around the world, and it seems that some of them aren’t really nice, such as the “skunk wolf”. The maned wolf is sometimes referred to as the skunk wolf because of its really strong unpleasant scent while it is marking the territory with urine. He is also sometimes called “large fox”, kalak, or borochi, depending on the territory on which they are seen.
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One more interesting thing about maned wolfs is that they don’t form packs like Canids. They are solitary animals and prefer to spend their time alone. They are also monogamous meaning they will usually have only one partner for their whole life. Even when they are paired up they will still prefer to live on their own without someone disturbing them, so the monogamous couple will meet when the mating season start and then they will usually separate till the next mating. There are of course exceptions to this behavior, some monogamous couples have been seen spending all of their lives together and defending their territory together which is usually not bigger than 12 sq mi.
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Maned wolf is nocturnal, and their favorite time to hunt is between sundown and midnight, but they will stay awake and hunt till the sun comes up again. Once the morning comes, maned wolfs will usually find some cover up and shady spot under some tree to spend the day sleeping. They are considered to be very smart, which can be concluded from their hunting methods.
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Maned wolfs have a hunting technique where they will stomp with their front foot on the ground making all of the underground creatures scared forcing them to get out on the surface. Once a prey gets out of the ground, maned wolf will spot it and rush towards it quite violently. They also have very sharp ears which are very flexible and can rotate almost 180% allowing them to hear better all of the sounds in the grass or on trees. Their hearing is a very important part of their hunting process as it allows them to spot a prey or a predator on time.
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Even though they are solitary mammals, they will not fight each other or feel the need to defend their territory when they encounter another one of their species. In reality maned wolfs are very shy creatures and they are much more likely to run away when they see another maned wolf than to start a fight. This is why they are not a threat to humans. Because of their shy and cowardly nature, most maned wolfs will probably run away if they see a human or anything else that might look like a predator.
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Even though they are not really a danger to humans, people from places where maned wolfs live still aren’t really fond of them. Maned wolfs have a bad reputation of being chicken thieves, which is why people don’t like them. There was also a myth that a maned wolf attacks cattle and sheep, which got people to hate them even more, but over time this myth was proven to be completely false, clearing their bad reputation a bit.
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Maned wolfs diet consists of both meat and vegetables making it an omnivorous species. There was a misconception about these animals that they mostly feed on meat like regular wolfs. This was proven to be false as the maned wolfs held captive were mostly fed meat and over time a large number of them developed bladder stones. After that people took a better look at maned wolfs living in the wild to see what they actually feed on. Studies show that over 50% of maned wolfs diet is actually vegetation such as fruit and vegetables. Of course they will still hunt for small and medium sized animals such as rabbits, rodents, birds, sometimes fish and insects, but more often they will look for sugar canes, sometimes tubers, but their absolute favorite is the “wolfs apple”. This fruit actually got its name because it is the favorite meal of the maned wolf and the wolfs apple alone can sometimes make up to 50% of the its diet.
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When a maned wolf is born it looks like an adorable black furred puppy and it weighs a little less than a pound. Maned wolf is rarely born as the only child, usually it has around 4 or 5 little brothers and sisters. As mentioned before, they are monogamous and they don’t change their partner for the rest of their lives once they find a mate. As true as that is, they will still spend most of their time living alone, and the pair only meets when the breeding season starts which can happen sometime between November and April. When the pups are born, they will stay with the mother and the father will leave her territory until the next breeding season.
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On the other hand, captive couples will live a little differently. When the pups are born in captivity the father will stay to help the mother raise them for the first year of their life, after which they will be completely mature and will continue life on their own. These wolfs aren’t heavily watched so we don’t really know their lifespan in nature, but they live around 12 to 15 years in captivity.
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