Weights, growth rates, canine tooth lengths, and survival data were obtained from 73 wild wolf (Canis lupus) pups that were 8 to 28 weeks old when live-trapped in three areas of northern Minnesota from 1969 to 1972. Relative weights of wild pups are expressed as percentages of a standard weight curve based on data from captive pups of similar age. These relative weights varied greatly within litters, between litters, and between years; extremes of 31 to 144 percent of the standard were observed. Growth rates ranging from 0.05 to 0.23 kilograms per day were observed, and similar variations in general devel pment and in replacement and growth of canine teeth were noted. Survival data based on radio-tracking and tag returns indicated that pups with relative weights less than 65 percent of standard have a poor chance of survival, whereas pups of at least 80 percent of standard weight have a high survivability. Pups born in 1972 were especially underweight, probably a result of declining white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) densities in the interior of the Superior National Forest study area.
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Weights, growth, and survival of timber wolf pups in Minnesota