Species Survival Plan
Grasslands and scrub forests
Omnivorous – small mammals, fruit, vegetables, sugarcane, insects, birds, rodents, small reptiles, amphibians, eggs, frogs, lizards, mice, rats and rabbits
Originally Native To
Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay
36 inches at shoulder
50 - 70 lb.
Golden-red fur, long black legs and a black mane; a distinct odor similar to that of a skunk
62 - 63 days
2 - 5 pups
U.S. Birth Season
December - March
Wild 10 years
Captivity 12 - 15 years
About Maned Wolf
Though termed a wolf and closely resembling a large red fox, this animal is placed in a genus of its own. The maned wolf is an unusual-looking canid with golden-red fur, long black legs and huge ears.
A dark mane on the back of the neck and on top of the shoulders can be raised during stressful encounters and is the source of the common name “maned wolf.” It is the largest of all South American canids and is often described as a “fox on stilts.”
Most prey is stalked and pounced on like a fox. Acute hearing and its long legs allow this animal to detect small mice and insects in the long grasses of its habitat.
True wolves, such as the Mexican and red wolves, are strict carnivores, but the maned wolf is omnivorous. This means that they eat a variety of foods including a fruit, the loberia, which is such a large part of their diet that it is called the “wolf fruit.” Insects, rodents, birds, bird eggs, grasses and small deer make up the rest of this unique wolf’s diet.
Maned wolves do not howl, but communicate with loud roaring barks. These barks are most commonly heard during the breeding season. Submissive whining and “puffing” noises to pups are other vocalizations.
Although considered endangered by the Argentine and Brazilian governments, little is known about the social life of wild maned wolves. Mostly solitary, males and females form mated pairs, sharing and defending a territory, but rarely found together outside of the annual breeding season. After a 63-day gestation, the female gives birth to 1-6 pups in a shallow “den” in the grass.
We have learned from animals in captivity that males play an important role in raising young along with the female. In the wild, the wolf is rarely seen with their pups. The pups are black at birth and turn red at about six months of age.
The main threats to the survival of maned wolves are disease, loss of habitat due to the rapid conversion of grasslands from traditional large cattle ranches to soybean or other agricultural production and conflict with man. Their fondness for domestic chickens gets maned wolves into trouble with ranchers and poultry farmers. Hunting is considered a definite threat to their survival in the wild.
Wild maned wolf population estimates range from 17,000-23,000, and the vast majority of wild maned wolves live in Brazil. The global captive population is approximately 370.
Fossil Rim is home to breeding pairs that are in the Intensive Management Area and are visible on the Behind-the-Scenes Tour. Most recently, three pups were born in 2018.
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As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.