Ethiopian Wolf: One of the rarest wolves in the world. And all because he's a big picky guy! Always eats the same rodents

 Gourmet food is not uncommon in nature. Many animals of high culture changed their varied menu and chose their favorite delicacy. But such preferences put them in an uncomfortable position, because their favorite dish may run out, and then the aesthete will only have to starve. Fastidiousness can put an animal on the brink of extinction, which is exactly what happened to the Ethiopian wolf!

"Ethiopian Wolf" by "Flickr" is licensed under CC by BY-NC 2.0

"Ethiopian Wolf" by "Flickr" is licensed under CC by BY-NC 2.0

Capricious top registered in the mountains of Ethiopia. These places are called the African Alps. There are lots of meadows and slopes covered with low grass and shrubs — for our wolf the most native territories. He is not found anywhere else outside of them, and even in the mountains themselves, his domain is divided into seven unrelated pieces. But there's nothing you can do about it, because there are only a few hundred wolves left. This is one of the rarest canine species.

The Ethiopian wolf's gastronomic fastidiousness led to this development. Its lean, rusty-red body, long muzzle, and large ears were intended for the extraction of a very specific food — mountain rodents.

In addition to them, the wolf wolf eats almost nothing — more than 90% of all bitten barrels are accounted for by African mole rats, rats and mice. On such grub, the wolf even deflated a little in comparison with its progenitors and became like a jackal — an adult animal no more than 16 kilos and a meter tall.

For the sake of their favorite food, the wolves even began to hunt differently. The pack predators became solitary. But they still do not have enough cat patience: wolves do not wait and do not arrange ambushes, but chase rodents through the mountains and slopes. And if the prey has time to hide in the hole, it will only delay the inevitable-the Ethiopian wolves will simply dig it out.

But the spirit of collectivism has not completely disappeared from the wolves. They live in fairly large flocks — up to 20 individuals. There is a clear division between rulers and subordinates in the group. Alphas make up about a third of the gang. This status is held by wolves not by the right of the strong, but by the right of birth. And if the guys still somehow can move up the career ladder, then the ladies can not improve their position. Even after the death of one of the leaders, power often passes from father to son or from mother to daughter.

The main bonus of the alfacha position is the ability to make babies. But even among them, this is available only to one male and one female. This process takes place only once a year — from August to November. There is no need to talk about loyalty to your status spouse. Wolves of both sexes are not averse to go left to the next pack — for the good of the pack, of course. Genes need to be updated.

Two months after such trips, puppies appear. And not just anywhere, but in a specially equipped burrow. These babies will be looked after by the whole pack. Although subordinates are not allowed to breed, they can babysit as much as they want. After 3 months, the cubs will stop sucking milk from their mothers and nannies and switch to meat. But they will become a full-fledged cell of the wolf society only by the age of 2. By that time, the males will have taken up leadership and subordinate positions, and most of the females will have left their native pack to join someone else's. All for the sake of mixing genes.

Ethiopian wolves are damn close to extinction. There are several hundredof them left, but they are also scattered in small groups on different mountain ranges without the ability to intersect. The development of sheep farming in the foothills pushed the animals to higher peaks, and with their fastidiousness, it is even more difficult to survive there.