Question: Why do wolves howl?

  1. @reneesmornios12: Great question! Like us talking, they do it to communicate. There’s a really interesting new study that just came out last week showing that individual wolves can be identified with 100% accuracy by their howl – like a voice signature!

    Howling works well at covering large distances because it is low in pitch and long in duration (like a coooo-weeeee in the bush – but longer!)

    They do it for a few reasons – one is to call to each other (so pack member know where they are in relation to each other), it’s believed group, or chorus howling help to reinforce social relationships within wolf pack (like having a group time with your whole family helps you feel more connected as a family), and another is to announce to all the other animals in their home territory where they are.

    Another study that came out last week (a good week for wolf science!) showed that wolves howl more frequently to the members of their pack that they spend most of their time with. (see more about this study from the Wolf Science Centre in Austria: – there’s a photo of one of these wolves in my profile page 🙂 )

    Animals in the wild don’t normally ‘announce’ where they are the way that wolves do (if you were a rabbit, you’d be telling everyone where they could fine a quick meal!) – it tells everyone where you are, so is something you only normally see the top predators in an environment doing.


  2. @reneesmirnios12 and @Mia I always wondered this myself. I hope you’ve seen the youtube of Mishka the talking dog. It seems to love chatting in a howling way.

    But why do things change with other types of pet dogs? My two dogs seem very far from being Wolf like and dont seem to verbally communicate. The only time I hear my Kelpie howl is when an ambulance races past.


  3. That raises the interesting question of why people talk. Evolution tells us that any trait that evolves and stays around gives some advantage to the species. I guess being able to talk helped our ancestors be better hunters.