We can find out that it’s fall by looking at the calendar, but what fun is that? We know fall has arrived when we can kick our feet though a carpet of leaves, when everything nice is pumpkin-spiced, and when tank tops and bathing suits are replaced with football pads and chunky sweaters. We’re not the only ones who change wardrobes with the seasons, wolves do too! When trees explode with new color, a wolf glows in it’s newly grown coat.
A wolf’s coat consists of two elements: the long guard hairs that form the visible outer layer of the coat and the soft dense undercoat. The coarse guard hairs determine a wolf’s appearance/color and works like a slicker, protecting a wolf from rain, snow, and sleet. The undercoat is usually gray in color and keeps the animal comfortable in cold temperatures. A wolf’s insulating undercoat begins to fall out like sheets of soft wool in the spring and a fresh under-layer thickens during the fall. The shedding cycle is driven by hormone levels that rise in the spring with the onset of longer days and decrease as day lengths shorten in the fall. Thanks to the photoperiodic rhythm of his body chemistry, Atka is prepared fall and likely looking forward to even colder temperatures on the horizon. Enjoy the day Atka!
Learn more about why wolves shed.