No, this isn’t the product of a giraffe-fox hookup in Vegas, it’s actually a maned wolf and is sometimes described as a red fox on stilts because of its characteristic long limbs. With a reddish yellow coat and a darker colored stripe running from the nape of the neck to its back, it has an erect mane and a dark muzzle. The long, bushy tail is usually dark, but may be lighter..sometimes even white.
An inhabitant of South American grassland or scrub, this wolf may be found peering over vegetation for prey or potential danger. It is nocturnal and has a varied diet that includes rabbits, birds, mice, grubs, and ants, as well as plant matter such as fruits and berries. The maned wolf is known to kill small livestock and is therefor considered a ‘pest’ in some areas. But we all know animals aren’t the pests, humans are, right? Female and male wolves form monogamous pairs, sharing a territory and mating every year, usually in May or June.
Maned wolves make several sounds that are mostly heard at night. Disputes over territory evoke typical doglike growls. Guttural barks also warn away intruders and probably help the territorial pair to keep in audible contact.
Four Maned Wolf Pups Born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
by Smithsonian staff
Although 2012 has only just begun, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia (SCBI-FR), already has something to celebrate in the new year: the birth of four maned wolf pups Jan. 5. It is the first litter born at SCBI-FR in two years and will play an important role in helping researchers maintain a viable, self-sustaining population under human care.
“Every pup born here helps us understand more about the biology of this incredible species,” said Nucharin Songsasen, an SCBI research biologist. “SCBI has a long history with the maned wolf, both in terms of studying the biology and maintaining the genetic diversity of individuals living under human care, as well as in conserving the animals in the wild.”
The four pups were born to mother, 8-year-old Salina, and father, 4-year-old Nopal, who was born at SCBI-FR. Maned wolf pups have a 50 percent mortality rate in the first month, so keepers are monitoring them closely…
The maned wolf participates in symbiotic relationships with the plants that it feeds on, as it carries the seeds of various plants, and often defecates on the nests of leafcutter ants. The ants then use the dung to fertilize their fungus gardens, and later discard the seeds onto refuse piles just outside their nest. This process significantly increases the germination rate of the seeds… (read more: Wikipedia)
The maned wolf stands about three feet tall at the shoulder and weighs about 50 pounds. It lives in central and southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, eastern Bolivia, and northern Argentina; where it inhabits open forest, savanna (it’s long legs help it see over the tall pampas grasses), and marshland.
They are omnivorous, eating small mammals, insects, reptiles, birds, bird eggs, fruits, and vegetation.
Habitat destruction is the main threat to maned wolves. They have almost no natural enemies, but nevertheless are in great danger because they needs wide, uninterrupted spaces. In addition, people kill these wolves for their body parts, believed to have magical properties. The National Zoo has been working to protect maned wolves for nearly 30 years and coordinates the collaborative, inter-zoo Maned Wolf Species Survival Plan, which includes breeding maned wolves, studying them in the wild, protecting their habitat, and educating people about them…
14-billion-years-later:eosforos: Despite its name, the maned wolf is not a wolf at all, nor is it a fox, coyote, or dog. It is the only member of theChrysocyon genus, making it a truly unique animal, not closely related to any other living canid. One hypothesis for this is that the maned wolf is the last surviving species of the Pleistocene Extinction, which wiped out all other large canids from the continent.
The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America, resembling a large fox with reddish fur. This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees. Unlike other large canids, the Maned Wolf does not form packs. It hunts alone, usually between sundown and midnight. It kills its prey by biting on the neck or back, and shaking it violently if necessary. Since its classification as a Vulnerable species by the Brazilian government, it has received greater consideration and protection from most people. They are also threatened by habitat loss and being run over by cars. (Wiki.)