What is a Wolf howl?
What does a wolf howl mean? And what is this ‘howling at the moon’ all about?
Whereas dogs, and wolves, communicate mainly via a set of visual cues, howling is a form of vocal communication wolves are very famous for. Wolves don’t just howl for one reason, no; their howls can indicate many things. Man doesn’t yet fully understand the full meanings of every form of howl, as there are many, but we do understand some of them.
Why Wolves Howl
Actually, ‘Wolf howling’ can be a method of establishing contact. Sometimes wolves howl to reunite pack members, and howling rate is even believed to relate to the Wolfe’s status within the pack. Once a wolf begins howling, other pack members often show a strong tendency to join in. While the full meanings of wolf howling aren’t yet understood, howling is said to be a happy event that the animal is pleased to be a part of.
It seems the most obvious purpose for a wolf howl is to reassemble the pack after a hunt, or if members become separated via some other means. Howling may be a type of ‘right of passage’, lower members in the hierarchical order are discouraged from participating. Wolf howling has also been said to be a method of establishing territorial borders, warning other packs away.
The Hunting Howl
Before a hunt, a different kind of howl is used- a type of ‘social gathering’ howl, which seems to excite the pack and help prepare for excursions ahead. Howells aren’t believed to be used to initiate a chase, however; the animals will remain silent while hunting (contrary to popular belief).
A perfect method to ensure any hunt is a failure would be to warn the prey of your approach. Again, and as always, the truth of the matter makes perfect biological sense, contrary to the misguided human belief of old.
In fact, recent research has shown that howling isn’t tied into the animal’s stress levels, refuting the longtime belief that ‘wolves howl out of loneliness’. Also, the longtime belief that wolves ‘howl at the moon’ is ridiculous; they often howl at night or in the evening because hunting often takes place in the dusk hours.
However, wolves are indeed usually more active during the day.