January 23, 2021

Having wolf body, fox face and deer legs -The Maned Wolf , South america's largest canine!

Maned Wolf| Wolf having fox face, dog body and deer legs| South America's largest wolf 

One would quite be amazed looking at this magical creature in the wild which seems to be a dog-like creature but with characteristics and appearance similar to other animals such as a fox and a deer. The Maned Wolf or Chrysocyon brachyurous is the largest canine in South America with a large body and long slender legs like those of a deer and perhaps the most striking feature is the “roar-bark”. 

Although these are considered to be wolves, still their DNA and physical characteristics are quite close to the other members of the canine family. Maned wolves are left in quite a few numbers in the wild mainly due to habitat loss, road accidents, diseases from domestic animals, and worst is being killed by humans who consider these as threats to their livestock.

Distribution and Features 

Maned wolves are found in the Southern region of the American Continent. These were once found in the entire continent but due to habitat loss and the constant struggle for their survival, these are now found only in regions of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguayan, and some regions of Argentina. 

The most numbers around 90 percent of the individuals are found in Cerrado- savanna of Brazil and some in Pampas of Peru as well. These prefer to live in areas ranging from  45 to 100 square kilometers where there are grassland and shrubs.


Long slender body of Maned Wolf
Image Source-  Google | Image by -  Pixabay

Maned wolf reaches from 92 to 115 centimeters in body length with height around 90 centimeters and weight ranging from 25 to 36 kilograms. It has a golden red to orange colour dense hair on its mane and its leg and snout are black. Its tail comprises of a whitish tuft and a white spot under the throat. It has long slender legs like those of a deer to facilitate its swift movement through bushy grasslands. 

Behaviour and Diet 

Maned wolf does not live in packs and prefers to be alone other than the mating period when a male and female team up until the end of the breeding season. These are nocturnal creatures and these are active mostly during dusk and dawn. The Maned wolf has an excellent sense of smell and its long fox ears which are its main weapons during a hunt. 

These characteristics assist them in hunting in open grasslands where their prey may be present deep inside a burrow. Not only a hunt but these can eat anything that can fit in their mouth and are also scavengers of the Cerrado plains. 


Maned wolf in zoo 
Image Source-  Google | Image by - Wikimedia

These are opportunist hunters and eat according to the availability of food in the region. Maned wolf diet includes fruits and seeds, small insects and mammals, eggs and rodents, and even bigger animals such as Deer, Emus, and foxes which is a very rare sight. These also wander around the human habitation in search of food and often scavenge on the leftover. 

Lobeira, an important tree for this maned wolf as it bears fruit throughout the year, provides food for the Maned wolf and these become seed bearers for this tree thus completing the cycle. 


The IUCN has considered the Maned wolf as “nearly threatened” as its numbers have significantly fallen in recent years because of habitat loss and urbanization. These are being killed by humans in conflicts and these hunt on small prey and sometimes livestock. 

Rapid agricultural activities wherein modern chemicals and fertilizers are being used also harm these when coming in contact with them. Road accidents and tougher competition from other inmates of the area such as jaguars are making the situation more difficult. 

However various organizations and government efforts are trying to resolve the situation. The local people are being made aware of the importance of these beautiful creatures in their ecosystem and the ideology of Eco-tourism is being incorporated to protect Maned Wolf and wildlife in the region.

Maned Wolf| Wolf having fox face, dog body and deer legs| South America's largest wolf 

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