|Scientific Name||Canis lupus pallipesSykes, 1831|
Wolves breed in holes in the ground, or caves. The young vary in number from three to eight, and are born from October to December, chiefly in the latter month. They are born blind and with drooping ears.
Head and body about 3 feet, tail with hair 16 to 17 inches.
Greyish fulvous, usually with a brownish tinge, some-times much mixed with black on the back ; some have a reddish tinge, and occasionally it is said that a thoroughly rufous individual is met with. Browner than C. lupus generally, and of an earthy grey colour. Hair of varying shades of light brown from the base to near the end ; tips black on the back. Coarse white hairs are mixed with the finer fur near the skin. The hairs on the tail have generally black tips. Lower parts dingy white. The young are sooty brown, with a milk-white chest-spot, which disappears about the sixth week from birth, when a dark collar appears below the neck, but is lost at maturity.
The Indian wolf, although somewhat gregarious, is not known to associate in large packs (I have never heard of more than six to eight together - Blanford 1888). It is also rather a silent animal, but sometimes, Jerdon says, it barks like a pariah dog. It is rarely, if ever, heard to howl. Indian wolves prey on all mammals or birds they can kill, but especially on sheep, goats, and antelopes. Instances are not rare of their attacking man, two or more combining for the purpose; and they, in some parts of India, carry away a large number of children yearly, usually taking them from villages. They course and run down hares and foxes, and occasionally attack cattle. They not unfrequently kill dogs. Like all wild canines, these animals are very intelligent and cunning, and many of the stories told of the stratagems they em-ploy to secure their prey appear to be well authenticated. One plan, vouched for by several observers, is that of part of the pack
driving antelopes or gazelles across a spot where others of the pack are lying in ambush, either in ravines or in hollows scratched by themselves in the ground. Some wolves, too, are said to lie in wait hidden until antelopes approach them while feeding.
A remarkable story is related by a writer in the 'Asian,' who states that he saw a wolf rolling on its back with its legs in the air, whilst some antelopes that were attracted to approach by curiosity advanced to within sixty or seventy yards ; then they were accidentally disturbed, and two other wolves, that had been lying in ambush 100 yards apart in advance of the third, jumped up. It is also said that when wolves attack sheep, part of the pack attack and keep the dogs in check, whilst others carry off the prey.
A somewhat similar story is related by Forsyth, except that the victims were children. In the Dumoh district of the Central Provinces an old she-wolf and a full-grown cub haunted a patch of bushes and grass near a village standing on the slope of a hill, down which ran the main street, where children were always at play. The smaller wolf hid amongst bushes between the village and the bottom of the hill, whilst the larger animal went round to the top, and, watching its opportunity, ran down the street, carrying of a child on the way. First the people used to pursue, and sometimes made the marauder drop his prey ; but in that case the companion wolf usually succeeded in carrying off another of the children in the confusion, whilst the child first seized was generally so injured as to be beyond recovery. In this, as in many other similar cases, a very wide-spread superstition prevented the villagers from hunting down and killing the animals; and Forsyth actually found it difficult to get men to assist him in shooting the brutes, in which he fortunately succeeded.
The great aversion to killing a wolf that exists in many parts of India is due, I am told by Mr. Theobald, to a widely spread belief that the blood of a wolf, if shed upon the lands of a village, renders them unfruitful. The Indian wolf has both speed and endurance, and has very rarely, if ever, been run down and speared from horseback, though the feat has often been attempted.If hunted with greyhounds a wolf generally, after going for some distance, turns upon the dogs and chases them back to the hunts-man. Instances of this are given by both Jerdon and Forsyth; but the latter relates how in one case a wolf that had chased back
two greyhounds met his match in a bull mastif. Jerdon states that a wolf once joined his greyhounds in hunting a fox.
In the Indian desert between Rajputana and Sind wolves are said by Sir B. Frere (Journ. R. Geogr. Soc. 1870, p. 204) to be dug or smoked out of their dens amongst the sand-hills. This is generally done about midday in the hottest part of the hot season; the men engaged protect their feet with folds of raw hide, and if the wolves are not clubbed or speared at once they are easily run down, as the hot sand blisters their feet and disables them.(Blanford 1888).
Used to be found throughout the whole of India, rare in wooded districts, and most abundant in open country. However, it is now restricted to certain regions in fragmented populations and is currently endangered.