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New Season Calls For Wild Hair Days for Wolves

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Flowers are blooming, the trees are green, and birds are chirping – all great signs pointing to the arrival of a new season! Although the official start to summer relies upon a date on the calendar, wolves rely on subtle cues from Mother Nature to begin preparations for the summer months. Ambassador wolves Atka, Alawa, and Zephyr know the season is changing so they’re busy shedding their winter coats.

During this season, their insulating undercoats fall from their bodies like sheets of soft wool to allow them to live comfortably during the dog days of summer. What triggers the shedding process? This time of year both male and female wolves have rising levels of a hormone called prolactin. Prolactin levels increase with the onset of long days, and during the short days of winter, the hormone levels decrease. It is believed that prolactin has many key roles.

High levels of the hormone contribute to the following:
– Development of the mammary gland for expectant wolf mothers
– Maintenance of lactation – helps milk production in wolf mothers
– Promotion of parental behavior in both males and females and thus enhances pup survival
– Shedding of the undercoat!

So, longer days alter the chemical makeup of wolves and help ensure that they spend the spring and summer months in comfort with their happy healthy packs.