The Steppe Wolf
The steppe wolf was classified as gray wolf subspecies Canis lupus campestris in 1804 by Russian scientist Ivan Dwigubski. It is also known as the
Caspian Sea wolf and the Caucasian wolf. Most taxonomists recognize the Canis lupus campestris, Canis lupus bactrianus, Canis lupus cubanensis, and the Canis lupus desertorum as being one and the same subspecies. The steppe wolf is commonly mistaken as being
Canis lupus chanco which is the Tibetan wolf or Mongolian wolf.
The historic range of the steppe wolf is
in the countries surrounding the Caspian Sea and Black
Sea. Today, it exists only in a remote area in the extreme south-western portion of Russia
that borders the northern half of the Caspian Sea.
Steppe wolves usually come in desert colors to blend into their surroundings. They are not white as are many more northerly Siberian wolves.
Caspian sea wolves usually weigh up to 88 pounds, having short coats
that display shades of gray with rust or brown and black hairs over
their back with a
poorly furred tail.
They eat almost every animal they can catch. Wolves usually hunt in packs, but the steppe wolf will hunt on its own
when food (especially large prey) is scarce. The steppe wolf usually
feeds on herd animals, rodents, and fish. When food is scarce, it may
also eat berries and other fruits.
Though they usually eat
almost every animal they can catch, both packs and lone steppe wolves have been
known to occasionally kill more than they are capable of feeding on,
especially Caspian seals. They are also liable to hunt domestic animals of nomadic families
at any time day or night. They hunt when they are hungry but if they are not successful they can go without food for
Like most other wolves, mating is usually between the dominant pair of the pack. Breeding usually occurs between
January and April. After about 63 days, the mother will give birth to 4 to 7 pups which the entire pack usually
takes part in raising.
The Canis lupus campestris has been hunted as a nuisance for years. It is listed as endangered in the
Mongolian Red List of Mamals
(2007), and can now only be found in a far south-western part of Russia along the Caspian Sea.