Wednesday, March 8, 2017

By J.E. Rogers

In our last blog post, we visited with the Dhole, a wild dog of Asia. This week we’re traveling to the continent of South America to visit with another unusual canid; the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). Our special guest this week is neither a wolf, a dog or a fox. It is the only member of its genus: Chrysocyon, which means ‘golden dog.’

So, let’s get to know this unusual mammal a little better.

The Maned Wolf is South America’s largest canid. First, you can see how this animal gets its name. It does look like a wolf, or a cross between a fox and a wolf and it has a strange swath of fur that begins at the base of its neck and flows over its shoulders. That ‘mane’ can stand erect when threatened. It is sometimes referred to as a fox on stilts. You can also see why this is so by looking at the below picture. The long stilt-like legs of the Maned Wolf is considered an adaptation which developed so the animal can see over the high grasslands of its habitat.

Photo credit:  © William Duncan

I was surprised to learn that it is not related to a wolf or a fox. Instead, the closest living relative to the Maned Wolf is the Bush Dog. As I mentioned above, it is the only member of its genus. 

Bush Dog
Photo credit: © Rod Williams Auscape International

The Maned Wolf has dark fur on its muzzle, its legs, and its mane. It has large pointy ears, which are about seven inches long. The average Maned Wolf stands about three feet high and weighs approximately fifty pounds.

Photo credit:

One of the most interesting facts about this animal is that, unlike other members of the canid family, it does not hunt in packs. It is not social. It is a nocturnal, solitary hunter. Considered an omnivore, the Maned Wolf enjoys fruit, which is about 50% of the animal's diet. However, it will not turn down the occasional small rodent. Its favorite meal is a fruit called lobeira. The aptly named lobeira means “fruit of the wolf.”

Maned Wolves live in monogamous pairs. But those pairs do not travel together and will only come together during the April to June mating season.

I have seen the Maned Wolf in person at the Beardsley Zoo, which is located in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This is a beautiful animal, its movements are fluid, much like that of a deer, and the pictures I have posted here do not do any justice to its beautiful red coat. 

Photo credit: Rob Young

Below is an informative video that further discusses some of the points I covered in this post. You will see the Maned Wolf on the move and hear its very unusual ‘roar-bark.’ Take a few moments to view and listen.

If you would like to learn more about the Maned Wolf, visit the below sites:

Thanks for stopping by to learn about the Maned Wolf. I do hope I’ve introduced you to some interesting information. It’s good to take a moment to consider the plight of this very handsome member of the canid family.

Don’t forget to stop by again, and share what you’ve learned.

Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland and
One Hot Mess, A Child’s Environmental Fable
Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!

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