Maned wolf

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Maned wolf
Maned wolf.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Mammalia
Sub-class Theriiformes
Infra-class Holotheria
Order Information
Superorder Preptotheria
Order Carnivora
Sub-order Caniformia
Infraorder Cynoidea
Family Information
Family Canidae
Sub-family Caninae
Tribe Information
Tribe Canini
Genus Information
Genus Chrysocyon
Species Information
Species C. brachyurus
Population statistics
Population 23,600 (2005 est.)
Conservation status Near threatened[1]

The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is a large wild dog native to South America, and the largest canid species on that continent.


The maned wolf is a wolf in name only; it bears a distant relationship to members of the genus Canis, despite having a somewhat physical resemblance to them. It is a tall, rather lanky-looking canid, standing 35 inches at the shoulder, with an overall length of 56 inches and a weight of 51 pounds. Its coat is golden-reddish to reddish brown in color, with black legs, snout, and a blackish ruff of hair on the back of the neck, white facial markings about the snout and ears, and a white tail tip, giving it a resemblance to a red fox (Vulpes vulpes)]. The legs themselves - disproportionately long in comparison to other wild canids - have given it the nickname "fox on stilts"[2][3].

Upon the spine from the back of the head to the base of the tail the fur can be erected in a sort of a crest when the animal is agitated, making it appear larger than normal. This crest, or "mane" is what gives the animal its name.

Range and habitat

The maned wolf is found in South America from northeastern Brazil to southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), the Gran Chacco of Paraguay to Uruguay and Argentina to 30° south latitude. In the west, the range stretches across Bolivia to the Peruvian border.

It lives in open grasslands and savannahs, woodlands with a open canopy (the Brazilian cerrado), mixed forest/grassland, and fields which are seasonally flooded. The territorial area of a bonded pair is about 9.6 to 23.1 square miles depending on the area. Markings are preferably carried out at conspicuous sites, such as termite mounds, by urinating. Animals without a territory live in the border areas between the territories and do not mark. The typical sound is a barking, which can be heard at any time of the day or season.


Maned wolves are nocturnal or active at dawn. They have smaller teeth and a weaker bite versus many other canids, necessitating an omnivorous diet. As a carnivore, it hunts small animals such as rabbits, rodents, birds and insects; the last two are sometimes taken with a quick jump while the prey is in flight. Particularly in the cerrado, the seven-banded armadillo is one of the most important prey animals. Vegetable food includes tubers, sugar cane, various roots, and fruits including the aptly-named "wolf's apple" (Solanum lycocarpum).


Despite the name, maned wolves do not form packs. Males and females are monogamous; they inhabit a territory together, but they usually go their own ways and hunt separately. Only after the birth of their cubs is the partnership tighter, and the male helps in rearing and feeding on average a litter of three to as many as six cubs. The mating season reaches a peak between April and June, with a gestation of about 65 days. Litter sites which were investigated in the field were hidden on elevated areas in the midst of swampy high grass areas.


The mane wolf is classified by the IUCN as "near threatened". A total population of approximately 23,600[4] adult animals has been estimated, with the animals appearing in very small populations in most areas. Habitat conversion for agriculture has severely affected wolf populations, but the chief risks involve hunting and trapping (based on a perceived threat to livestock or cultural superstitions and traditions), and attacks by domestic dogs. The extent to which populations are decimated by diseases is unclear, but canine distemper is one of several diseases making inroads on maned wolf populations as a result of contact with dogs. Legislation by Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia has forbidden hunting.