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"To some, the howl of a wolf is haunting, sad, or spine-chilling. To others, it is the beautiful, untamed song of the wilderness. To wolves, it serves a variety of purposes.

Howling is sometimes used during a hunt to communicate position. Certain vocalizations are used when members are separted from the pack. A pack will also howl to communicate territory. Each wolf in the chorus will howl on a different note, making the pack seem larger than it really is. Chorus howling is also heard after a successful hunt. In addition to sending messages, howling reinforces pack unity which may explain why wolves sometimes seem to howl for no reason other than the joy of it.

A wolf separated from its pack may issue a "lonesome howl." If answered, the wolf switches to a "location" howl that is deeper, more even and often punctuated by barks."

Copyright Tim Fitzharris


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