The red wolf was roamed across the south-eastern United States from Texas to Florida to New York. The red wolf's historical habitat included areas of forest, swampland and coastal prairies where it would of been one of the top predators. Today however, the world's red wolf population is confined to a protected area in North Carolina.
The red wolf is generally smaller in size than the grey wolf, found in more northern parts of North America. Red wolves are named for their cinnamon coloured fur, which is brownish-red with dark patches on their backs. Red wolves also have broad noses and large looking ears for the size of their head.
In a similar way to other canines, and indeed other wolf species, the red wolf is a very sociable animal, living in pack with a number of other red wolf individuals. Red wolf packs usually contain a dominant male and female and their offspring and contain between 2 and 10 members. The red wolf is also a highly territorial animal, with the red wolf pack guarding it's range from intrusion by other red wolf packs in the area.
Although red wolves are known to hunt together as a group in order to catch a larger animal such as a deer, red wolves primarily eat smaller ground dwelling animals such as rabbits and rodents. Red wolves also eat birds, raccoons and other small animals. When trying to hunt a larger animal, the red wolf pack works together to confuse and corner their prey.
In their historical range, red wolves were considered to be one of the most dominant predators within their environment, only coming under threat from larger canines such as grey wolves or the occasional coyote. Human hunters wiped out the red wolf population in large parts of their natural range, and the population was finally thought to become extinct primarily due to habitat loss.
Red wolves are usually able to reproduce by the time they are 2 years old and begin mating in the warmer spring months of February and March. The female red wolf gives birth to a litter of up to 10 cubs after a gestation period that lasts for around 60 days. Cubs are born blind and are nursed by the rest of the pack until they are able to hunt for themselves and either remain with their parents or leave to start a pack of their own.
Today, the red wolf is no longer extinct in the wild since their reintroduction to North Carolina in 1987, and the population their is now thought to be just over 100 red wolf individuals. Nevertheless, the red wolf is still considered to be a critically endangered animal and is regarded as the 10th most endangered animal species in the world.