Do Wolves Live In The Desert?

When you picture a wolf, do you picture a large, white wolf living in the mountains, surrounded by snow? While a lot of people think that wolves only live in cold areas, wolves can actually be found all over the world, in varying climates and locations.

There are actually about 30 different subspecies of wolves in the world and with so many different types of wolves, you may be wondering if any of these types of wolves live in the desert. 

Do any wolves live in deserts? There are two different species of wolves – the gray wolf and the red wolf. In these species, there are as many as 30 subspecies of wolves, including a subspecies of the gray wolf called the Mexican wolf. This wolf is the only wolf indigenous to southwestern deserts. So, yes, there is a type of wolf that lives in deserts! 

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Where exactly does the Mexican wolf live in the desert? 

The Mexican wolf, also known as “el lobo” or “lobos”, is the rarest subspecies of wolf in North America. These wolves can be found in parts of the Sonoran Desert which is located in parts of Arizona, as well as desert-like areas in the states of Colorado and New Mexico.  

At one point in time, the Mexican wolf was common throughout the southwestern parts of the United States and central Mexico, but they were almost completely eliminated from the wild in the 1970s dues to human interference. In 1998, Mexican wolves were released back into the wild in the area that they now inhabit. Now, the howling of the Mexican wolf can be heard from the desert and mountains in areas of the southwestern United States. 

With that being said, this wolf is still endangered. In 2019, there were only about 163 Mexican wolves in the wild in these states.  

What do these desert wolves eat? 

Mexican wolves eat elk, mule, dear, pronghorns, javelinas, rabbits, and other small animals that they can find. 

How big does these wolves get? 

Mexican wolves are some of the smallest subspecies of the gray wolf. They usually grow to be about five feet long and usually weight around 50 to 80 pounds. These wolves usually grow to be about 30 inches tall at their shoulder. Their coat has a combination of black, brown, rust, and gray fur. 

How long do Mexican wolves live? 

In the wild, Mexican wolves live to be about 7 to 10 years old, but in captivity, they can live to be up to 15 years old! 

Mexican wolves do live in packs. These packs are usually about 4 to 8 members.  

What other animals live in the same desert as the Mexican wolf? 

The Sonoran Desert is home to many other animals besides just the Mexican wolf. Other large mammals that call this desert home are coyotes, bighorn sheep, and bobcats. Javelinas, which are creatures that are often mistaken for pigs, but are in fact a member of a different family than pigs, are one of Mexican wolves’ favorite meals. Smaller mammals that live in the Sonoran Desert include foxes, cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits, skunks, and bats. Some rodents also live here such as squirrels, mice, and packrats.  

Where do other subspecies of wolves live? 

Wolves can be found all over the world, in many different habitats. Believe it or not, wolves can be found living in habitats with temperatures ranging from -70 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Wolves can be found in parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. They can be found in many different habitats, such as the tundra, forests, woodlands, grasslands, and deserts. 

Where in the United States do wolves live? 

As you know, the Mexican wolf can be found in protected areas in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, but what about other gray wolves? Gray wolves can be found in states all over the country such as Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and Wyoming.

The red wolf also lives in the United States, but sadly, this wolf is the most endangered species of wolf in the world. Only about 20 red wolves live in the wild today, in their native North Carolina. There are nearly 250 red wolves in captivity around the country to try to prevent the species from going extinct.