Breeding, Pack Size, and Mortality

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Dens & Breeding

There is a main denning area dug into a high knoll a few good bow-shots from the elves' Dentrees. It has a wide entrance that dips down to connect with the chamber. There are a few small chambers to the side, with two smaller exits. The den is not universally used by the pack, or by the alpha female when breeding. Wolves may sleep in it, but they may not. (They do not necessarily need to have shelter even from bad winter storms; they may use the den more often in very hot weather, in fact.)

When the Alpha female is preparing to birth a litter she'll often create a seasonal den a short distance from the main denning area. The Alpha female is the only female in the pack who breeds, and she breeds only with the Alpha male. Because the RTH wolves have a longer lifespan than their natural cousins, and because they have more help with survival (in the form of the elves), their breeding rate overall is lower than amongst natural wolves.

  • mating usually in January (01) or February (02)
  • birth of litter occurs in late March (03) or early April (04) (ca. 60-day gestation period)
  • litters usually between 2 and 4 cubs
  • around 2 weeks: eyes open, begin walking
  • 3 weeks: begin to leave den
  • 5 weeks: begin to eat meat along with milk
  • 6 weeks: can begin to take extended trips away from den, but will return to feed
  • 8 weeks: weaned

Litter Size & Mortality

Litters consist of 2-4 cubs. Only half of the cubs born to the wolf-pack tend to stay with the pack long-term. Those that bond to elves, of course, are the long-term members of the pack. Cubs that do not bond to elves have a 50% chance of surviving to the age of 3-5.

Those that reach yearling age un-bonded will tend to stay with the pack for 1-5 more years, on average. Only a very few will remain with the pack long-term if they are unbonded.

Dispersing & Foreign Wolf-Packs

Some of the young wolves disperse immediately, leaving the Holt territory to find a new pack, but almost all unbonded wolves will disperse if they still remain unbonded by about age 5 (with the exception of throwback wolves; but it is very rare that a throwback wolf does not bond with an elf).

Dispersing wolves may join neighboring natural packs, if there is room, or they may disperse quite far from the area to find a pack to join; but there is also a high rate of mortality amongst the dispersing wolves (not that the RTH tribe knows much about this).

Some dispersing wolves manage to become alphas in neighboring or "foreign" wolf-packs; they are often aided in this by the advantages conferred on them by their elf-blood, since like the rest of the RTH pack they are slightly larger than natural wolves. However, the "strangeness" of the elf-blood also makes other packs even more reluctant than usual to accept a dispersed RTH wolf into their ranks.

Therefore, while some foreign wolf-packs may have elf-blood in them, in even more dilute form than in the RTH pack, not all outside packs will.

Return to Wolves of River Twine Holt.