Myths and Lies about Wolves

There are many myths and lies told about wolves.  “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Three Little Pigs” are two of the most well known fairy tales involving mankind’s common misconception of wolves as evil creatures.  These and other stories tell a false tale of wolves.  There are also many modern stories that portray wolves in a false light.  One example is the movie “Look Who’s Talking Too”.  Near the end of the movie, wolves are portrayed as evil denizens of the forest bent on making sure the main characters don’t have a happy Christmas.  Werewolf movies in general also indirectly give a false impression of what wolves really are.

    The simple truth is, wolves are not evil creatures that hunt man.  In fact, there is no record of a man, woman or child being attacked by a healthy, wild wolf in the United States, Canada, or Mexico, the only places that there are wolves in the Americas.  That does not mean that wolves are not dangerous animals.  They are wild animals, and if properly provoked, can hurt you, though given their highly fearful nature, that is not very likely.  In fact, researchers have noted that wolves will not harm them, or even give indication of attempts to do so, when the researchers retrieve pups from dens!  Wolves have a fear of humans, but more so, they are intelligent enough to realize that they cannot defend themselves against humans.  To put things in perspective, if you were in the woods, with only the clothes on your back, and you ran into a grizzly bear, towering 3 feet higher than you, looking very mean, what would you do?

    It is believed by many, including this organization, that the myths about wolves all stem from incidents similar to a series of attacks in Paris about 500 years ago or so.  Stories are told of children being drug off by wolves and eaten.  Experts now believe that the animals involved were most likely wolf-hybrids, a known-dangerous combination of a wild wolf and a domestic dog.  Wolves are intelligent, fearful animals, and such an occurrence is highly unlikely.

    All members of the staff of this site have been in enclosures with both wild and habituated wolves.  There is no fear of these animals.  We understand that they will not hurt us, unless we do something that provokes them to the point that they will risk their own safety.  We are by no means advocating that you go out and pet your neighborhood wolf, but we can say with confidence that you are safe in the woods with wolves around.  A comment heard often among long-time wolf handlers is that the handler would feel safer in the woods with wolves around, then in a room full of people!  We certainly agree.

    Please check out the Where to Visit Wolves link to see where you can go see wolves.  If you are lucky, you might get a kiss from a friendly wolf (or at least a very sloppy lick!)