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July 28, 2011

Not wolf nor coyote nor fox nor dog

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 2:55 pm

No sir, Chrysocyon brachyurus, the Maned Wolf,  isn’t any of those..It’s a creature unto itself, the only member of it’s Genus.



The maned wolf (pardon the confusing misnomer..as I said before, it’s technically not a wolf) is South America’s largest canid, and one of my favorite canids, due in part to it’s very un-canid-like behaviors.  It’s a solitary hunter; it doesn’t form packs, and lives a loner lifestyle, wandering the savannas of South America on it’s stilt-like legs in search of food and, in the off chance it comes across another Maned Wolf, a mate.  To make it even more un-canid-like, the Maned Wolf’s diet is made up of nearly 50% vegetable matter..It’s rather integral to it’s ecosystem, not as a top predator, but as an important distributor of seeds from the plants it eats.

 I’m always drawn to bizarre animals, and these fellows are made all  the more bizarre by the fact they are ancient…Maned Wolf fossils have been found that date back to the Pleistocene, which means these guys used to share their habitat with the bear-sized Smilodon populator, the largest saber-toothed cat (and one of the heaviest cats ever, for that matter) ever discovered.


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