Grey wolf (Canis lupus)
The world’s largest wild canid, the iconic grey wolf has been a source of both fear and respect, inspiring a rich cultural history. In general appearance, this species resembles a large domestic dog, but has longer legs, larger feet, a narrower chest and a straight tail. The fur is thick, with an outer layer composed of coarse guard hairs, below which a soft undercoat is present. The coat undergoes an annual moult in late spring, with a short summer coat growing simultaneously, which continues to develop into a winter coat in the autumn and winter. The most common coat colour is grey flecked with black, with lighter underparts, but individuals and populations also occur that are red, brown, black or almost pure white. The grey wolf’s sensitive ears and nose help it to track down prey, while the long legs enable it to make high-speed, lengthy pursuits.