The Dire wolf looks similar to the still existing wolfs, but is larger and stouter and has shorter legs. It is probably the heaviest canine ever to have lived.
They hunt together as a pack that consists of an alpha pair and their offspring. The Dire wolf’s large size provides an estimated prey size in the 300–600 kg range.
They prefer to hunt bison rather more than other herbivores, but move to other prey like horse, mammoth, sloth and camel when food became scarce and seldom scavenge on dead animals too.
Since the Dire wolf became extinct together with its prey, the large herbivore mammals, 10.000 years ago, bones and skeletons of more than 3.600 animals were found in California. But now our Lost Zoo is the first zoo which ever kept this impressive American wolf species.
The Dire wolf lived in South America and immigrated to North America about 100.000 years ago. It looks similar to the living wolfs, but is larger and has a stockier build and shorter legs. Also the head is larger than the head of a wolf of the same size, but the brain is smaller. The Dire wolf’s teeth are stronger than in all other wolfs and indicate that the Dire wolf is a predator that feeds on large prey.
Body length: 150 cm
Body weight: 60-68 kg
Habitat: Plains, grasslands and some forested mountain areas of North America as well as the arid savannah in South America, from sea level up to an altitude of 2.255 m.
Extinction: 16.000-10.000 years ago, the last found Dire wolf is dated 9.940 years ago. The Dire wolf’s extinction is caused mainly by the extinction of their megaherbivore prey, but also by other factors like climate change and competition with other species including humans.