The Maned Wolf
Although it is a member of the Canedae family, which contains dogs, wolves, and foxes, the maned wolf is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon. It is considered not to be a "true wolf". It looks mostly like an overgrown fox with extremely long legs and a prominent crest of hair across its shoulders.
Ancestors of the maned wolf are thought to have spread from North to South America about two million years ago. Broken away from other wolf species in North America, the maned wolf evolved into what it is today.
The maned wolf stands up to 3 feet in height, and 4 feet in length. It very seldom weighs over 50 pounds, though it's long legs make it appear to be much heavier. By nature, it lives in dry, shrubby forests, and grasslands with swampy regions that grow high, lush vegitation. The wolf's long legs enable it to see above tall grass, making it easy to spot prey as well as hide from it. The wolf's toes can also be splayed apart, allowing it to walk on marshy grounds.
The maned wolf is a flesh eater like all other dogs, although fruits make up about half of its diet. Its favorite food is the wild guinea pig found in its area. It will eat rabbits, rodents, lizards, frogs, birds, fish, and snails. It has sharp teeth for tearing meat, and broad flat molars for crushing fruit. It hunts mainly at dusk and at night. It catches its prey with a swift, high pounce. Occasionally, it digs creatures out of their burrows.
Breeding Season falls between late Spring and early Summer. Its mating habits have been observed only in captivity. The female takes the lead in mating by bowing in front of the male and rubbing against him while pounding her forepaws on the ground. The female gives birth to four to five cubs in her den. The cubs are fully grown in about a year, and usually mate after they are two years old. Captive maned wolves live between 12-15 years. Their lifespan is unknown in the wild.
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