Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Red Wolf

Canis rufus

The red wolf is the most endangered species of wolf, with fewer than 30 remaining in the wild in eastern North Carolina. An assurance population of about 245 reside in human care as part of a Species Survival Plan to prevent them from going extinct.

Range & Habitat

Current range is grasslands and wetlands of northeastern North Carolina. This range was reduced from most of the eastern United States. 

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

Critically Endangered due to overhunting and habitat loss.


In the Wild: Raccoons, white-tailed deer, rabbits, pigs, rodents, and carrion.

At the Zoo: Meat with exotic canine diet and a rabbit once a week.

Life Span

In the Wild: 6-7 years; In Human Care: up to 15 years.

Fun Facts about the Red Wolf

  • Red wolves communicate through a variety of behaviors such as touch, smell, and vocalizations. Their vocalizations are a cross between a coyote and a gray wolf.
  •  Red wolves are distantly related to gray wolves and coyotes. The red wolf is smaller in size and has a reddish fur coat, longer legs, and longer ears than gray wolves.
  •  Red wolves are carnivores and hunt for their food. They will hunt in the same area for about 10 days, then switch to a different hunting range.


Just Fun Facts. (1968, January 01). Retrieved May 26, 2020, from

Red Wolf Woods at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: Conservation, habitat. (2020, January 15). Retrieved May 26, 2020, from

Red Wolf. (2020). Retrieved May 26, 2020, from

Red Wolf. (2020). Retrieved May 26, 2020, from

Updated June 13, 2023
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