Hierarchy among unrelated wolves?

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Hierarchy among unrelated wolves?

Post by Swifty » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:34 am

If a group a dispersal wolves were traveling together, would there be a slight order of dominance? I know that in most packs there are only the dominate pair and the subordinates, which I suppose even amongst them is a slight ever shifting hierarchy. But anyway, would there be a slight hierarchy or not?

Also, what would be the closest thing to a beta or second in command? A close companion or sibling?
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Re: Hierarchy among unrelated wolves?

Post by failwolf56 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 pm

It is not likely that a despersal wolf would travel in a group. Dispersal wolves travel alone, at least until they find a mate. Therefore, it is not accurate to speculate them coming together in groups. Also, in any pack, the heirarchy doesn't really shift, not unless the breeding pair dies. As for the actual hierarchy in a pack, it is simply the breeding pair as the "dominates", with their offspring as "subordinates". Members of a pack are equal, besides the parents. I suppose older siblings would be more helpful to the pack, but in general, there is no second in command to the breeding pair.
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Re: Hierarchy among unrelated wolves?

Post by BlackWarrior » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:09 pm

Hey there Swift,
adding onto failwolf, the term Beta is actually incorrect and outdated. As well as a pack having "second in command", as previously stated. I suggest checking out this topic for further questions about wolf pack hierarchy as well as what role other siblings play:
Wolf Pack Hierarchy
http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=942

As for the dispersal wolves creating a group, generally this is unlikely in the first place. Though failwolf covered the majority of it, here is some proof to the answer:
Blightwolf wrote: Can/do wolves disperse in groups?

Most wolves disperse alone, but there are exceptions to the rule. Some wolves disperse in groups (such as in duos), but they eventually split up.

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Hope this helps to clarify the answer to your questions!
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Re: Hierarchy among unrelated wolves?

Post by Steeps » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:02 pm

How many wolves were you thinking for your group Swifty?

I ask this because I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that there wouldn’t be some sort of hierarchy established upon two or more stranger wolves meeting. As we all know, in the WolfQuest game when you enter the socializing ring you can choose to either signal dominance or submission to the other wolf with various gestures.

As for forming groups, unlikely as it is in the wild, you might want to look into the behaviour of captive wolves, as some populations do consist of completely unrelated wolves being forced to coexist together. You might find something there.

If your question is for a story--as I know you are a writer like me--you might want to look into some sort of enviornmental condition that would force wolves into such a situation. Good luck!

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Re: Hierarchy among unrelated wolves?

Post by Koa » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:30 pm

Steeps wrote:
As for forming groups, unlikely as it is in the wild, you might want to look into the behaviour of captive wolves, as some populations do consist of completely unrelated wolves being forced to coexist together. You might find something there.
Captive wolves are forced to live together. Dominance in captive wolves shifts, and often is established within a captive population due to the conditions surrounding or existent with the animals.
Dispersals are wild wolves. They are not forced to live together in the same conditions, same area, or forced to associate with eachother. Wild animals roam wherever and do whatever they please. If they spot another wolf, they may choose to encounter it or leave, whereas wolves in captivity are 'forced' to interact with other wolves due to the fact that they are captive animals.

Captive wolf behavior is extremely different from wild wolf behavior, and therefore inaccurate to compare when it comes to hierarchy especially.

Otherwise, I concur mostly with what has been stated here. Wolves disperse alone, but sometimes disperse in groups. When in groups, likely there is not much of a hierarchy; there is little hierarchy to begin with in packs anyway. There may be some tension, but not exactly hierarchy. When we think of hierarchy, most of us think of a strict, rank-based system in which one animal is completely dominant over another and with or accompanied by other "ranks" below that animal(s). This does not accurately describe the dominance structures of wild wolves. The breeding animals are the more 'dominant' animals accompanied typically by their offspring and only their offspring. [Occasionally an un-related wolf is present among the pack.]
Those whom disperse in pairs eventually split up to find mates. For how long they are together, it may or may not be for a long amount of time. It all depends upon the environment and whatever or whenever the group may encounter upon the way, whether it be other wolves of the opposite gender, another group of wolves, etc.
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