Female wolves come into heat once a year. After a courtship period, mating occurs between January and April. Warmer weather induces mating earlier in the year while cooler weather delays it. Pups are born 62-65 days later. Litter sizes can range from 1 to 13, averaging around 6. Many whelps die and usually only one or two survive in the wild.
Females usually whelp in an excavated den located high on a cut bank or otherwise situated in well-drained soil. The den is kept scrupulously clean. No bedding is used. The entrance tunnel usually leads back 6-8 feet before turning a corner to a rounded hollow which is somewhat elevated.
Born deaf and blind, pups can hear within a few days. Sight arrives in 11-15 days and pups are weaned at five weeks. At birth, their ears flop, but at four weeks, these ears are erect. Full growth is reached in a year. Females are sexually mature by 2 years of age. Males mature between 2-3 years.
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