Explore the Wild | Red Wolves



The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the rarest animals in the world, a shy species that once roamed throughout the Southeastern United States. As of summer 2010, approximately 118 red wolves lived in the wild; another 187 individuals lived at captive breeding facilities such as zoos and museums.


Fast Facts


Life Span

Captive wolves average 9-14 years.


Two to three feet at the shoulder; males 44-90 pounds; females 35-65 pounds.

Habitat and Range in North Carolina

Alligator River and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuges in eastern North Carolina.

The Museum of Life and Science’s first red wolf arrived in November 1992, followed by a litter of pups in May 1993 and another in April 2002. The red wolves living at the Museum are part of the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP). Every summer the SSP management team meets to decide which wolves should live together and where, so we don’t know how long ours will stay at the Museum. That’s also why we haven’t given them names (like most of the animals that live at the Museum). They go by the SSP Studbook numbers.


We have a male wolf and a female wolf living at the Museum:

  • Wolf #1287
    Birthday: May 12, 2003
    Sex: Female
    Size: about 50 pounds (23 kg)
    From the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island.
  • Wolf #1414
  • Birthday: May 21, 2005
    Sex: Male
    Size: about 72 pounds (33 kg)
    From the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, IL.

You can learn more about the wolves on the Animal Department Blog.


Wolf Care

"We're constantly trying to provide enrichment for our wolves. We give them bones of all shapes and sizes (as long as they are big), and even other parts of animals like dried pig ears and turkey toes.


Sometimes we even provide inadvertent enrichment, like when we tried installing cameras and video equipment in the wolf enclosure. It didn't matter how we secured things, they moved them or tore cables. (Needless to say we removed all pieces so they cannot get hurt.)"

The red wolf habitat in Explore the Wild features a stream with a waterfall and wolf dens. A rock quarry wall is a naturalistic backdrop for the exhibit, not only for its aesthetic appeal, but also to provide the wolves with vertical challenges.