South America’s largest canid, the maned wolf is a sight to behold.
Photo: Rufus46/Public Domain.
The maned wolf is not a wolf at all. Neither is it a fox, though it resembles one. It is the only canid (dog-like mammals) species in the genus Chrysocyon. The maned wolf gets its name from the ‘mane’ of distinctive black fur that runs from its head to its shoulders. Found in central South America’s grasslands, scrub habitats and swamps, its long legs are believed to have evolved to suit the tall grasses of its habitat. It is the largest canid in the continent, standing about a metre tall. It has graceful, erect, large ears and a pointy snout and hunts mostly during late dusk and early dawn.
It is omnivorous, meaning it feeds on fruit as well as prey animals like armadillos, rabbits, birds, insects, fish and arthropods.
The maned wolf is a solitary animal. A male and female will come together to breed and will share a territory within 20 to 50 km. of each other for a while. Sometimes, males will groom, feed and protect the pups.
First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXXVI, NO. 1, January 2016.