Latest Articles http://www.animalloverworld.com/ Articles at Pets Animals Lover Information World en-us Your Pets And Allergic Dermatitis http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/others/your-pets-and-allergic-dermatitis.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/others/your-pets-and-allergic-dermatitis.html Sat, 08 Jul 2006 00:00:00 -0700
Literally, the term ‘allergic dermatitis’ is derived from root words allergy, which means sensitivity or physical reaction to certain substances, and dermatitis, which means inflammation that is normally and usually exhibited or found in the skin.

Hence, allergic dermatitis can be accurately defined as skin inflammation caused by exposure to strong and harsh substances called ‘allergens’ in medical jargons. These substances are often absorbed through the skin, inhaled or taken in as food.

Symptoms of allergic dermatitis

The most common symptom or sign that your cat or dog is infected with allergic dermatitis is excessive itching. Dogs usually chew, bite, lick or scratch the itchy part of their skin, which will consequently bring about skin redness, open sores or, to your dismay, hair loss.

In dogs and cats, however, sometimes, it will be hard to differentiate if their itching is caused by fleas or allergic dermatitis. If the pet’s itching persist and there are no signs that it is caused by fleas, then, automatically, it is allergic dermatitis.

The most common spots where allergic dermatitis manifests in your pets are the armpit areas, the feet and the face. Be cautious and alert because if allergic dermatitis is not treated immediately, it may infect the entire body. Some pets would also tend to itch, but not indicate any skin problems. In such cases, a visit to the veterinarian would be advised.

Specifically, for dogs, allergic dermatitis is manifested by redness in the face, dark or stained areas on the foot due to licking excessively and oily skin due to chronic rubbing.

Cats do not get allergic dermatitis as frequently as dogs do, but when they are infected with it, some additional symptoms may be observed. Among them are the appearance of small bumps all over the body, lip ulcers, neck excoriation and patches of lost hair.

Causes of allergic dermatitis

Several causes are cited for the occurrence of allergic dermatitis in pets. The most basic is hereditary or genetic factors, meaning, it runs in the pet’s family.

Another is the inhalation or intake of allergens like grass, tree pollens, feathers, cigarette smoke, weed, house dust and wool. Take note that several of these also cause harsh allergic reactions to hyper-sensitive humans.

Treatment

Since allergic dermatitis is treatable but never curable, medications available in the market would only help ease your pet’s discomfort until the symptoms fade away.

It would be best to seek the help of your trusted veterinarian to get prescriptions for such medications and know their accurate and safe administration.

Since medicines for pets are not easily distributed, it would help if you would also ask your veterinarian where the drug shops for pet care are. These drug stores usually practice strict drug distribution practices to secure safety both of the pet and the owner.

Cortisones, antihistamines, anti-fungals and antibiotics are the usual drugs prescribed by veterinarians for pets with allergic dermatitis.

Prevention

To avoid the occurrence of allergic dermatitis in your pets, be sure they would not be exposed to allergens identified.

Clean your house thoroughly to get rid of dusts and pollen that might arouse allergic dermatitis among your pets. Give your pet a good and quick bath after a short outside trip to eliminate pollens and dusts that might have been stuck through their furs. ]>
Yo Quiero Chihuahuas: The Tiny Lap Dog With The Big Personality http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/yo-quiero-chihuahuas-the-tiny-lap-dog-with-the-big-personality.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/yo-quiero-chihuahuas-the-tiny-lap-dog-with-the-big-personality.html Wed, 26 Jul 2006 00:00:00 -0700
The Chihuahua is recognized by the AKC. Any color including solid, splashed and marked are acceptable coat colors. The Chihuahua has two coat types. One is smooth, short, close and glassy. The other is long, soft, flat and slightly curly with an undercoat. Contrary to what you would expect, the short coated dogs shed more than those with long hair. The short and long haired dogs are actually the same breed so you will often find both short and long haired puppies in the same litter. Short haired Chihuahuas need an occasional brushing while long haired Chihuahuas need brushed daily.

Born to be a family companion, the Chihuahua needs lots of attention and family time. They are very energetic and need plenty of play time. Since they are active indoors, they make good apartment dogs, but they do enjoy an occasional walk outside. They love to be spoiled and will encourage you to spoil them. Many owners find themselves buying puppy clothes for their spoiled Chihuahuas. Chihuahuas work best when they are the only pet in the household. They can be aggressive with other dogs and pets, even those that outweigh them by 100 pounds. If you have other pets in the household, they should be socialized with them from puppyhood. Homes with small children or children that are not well behaved are not ideal homes for Chihuahuas as they can be quick to snap if they are being picked on. They make great watchdogs as they will let you know if they hear an unfamiliar noise or see a stranger. They have a tendency to be wary of strangers. You need to be aware that sometimes the Molera or soft spot on their head does not close until they are older and sometimes they never close at all. Be careful to avoid injury.

Mexico is considered to be the Chihuahua's country of origin. Many sources believe that they have Asian ancestry as well. Their name is pronounced chi-WAH-wah. They have always been known as companion dogs.

Small, energetic and affectionate, the Chihuahua is a loyal family pet. They will be like your shadow when you are at home and are happiest when they have someone home with them most of the time. They also like to travel with their families. Light on the wallet as they eat little and are a fairly healthy breed, the Chihuahua is an excellent choice for families willing to let them have the spotlight and attention that they need. ]>
Worm Composting - What's the Distinction Amidst Worm Bins and Red Worm Farms? http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/worm-composting-whats-the-distinction-amidst-worm-bins-and-red-worm-farms.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/worm-composting-whats-the-distinction-amidst-worm-bins-and-red-worm-farms.html Sun, 24 Oct 2010 11:23:03 -0700
Basics of Vermicomposting
Many consumers form a median of more or less a pound of organic offscourings per day, between herb cuttings, tea leaves and coffee dregs and filters, egg shells, fruit skins, among other things. Red wigglers should gobble up to fifty percent of their total weight in eatables a 24 hour period, so routinely you will necessitate close to one pound of earthworms. (I've on top of that heard that red wigglers will decompose their equal weight in eats, although my knowledge is that it's centrally a bit less and varies based on the nutriment.) As they eat your food trash, they will assimilate it and output a byproduct named "worm castings" that is an excessively nutrient-full plant nutrient. The earthworms are kept in a lidded plastic enclosure possessing holes for aeration and voiding, and a bedding of dampened shredded newspapers, old leaves, and a bit of loam.

Worm Bins
Worms bins reference an arrangement which utilizes a single plastic repository to shelter the worms, to include some version of depthless tray or pan underneath to amass leaks and earth particles. This is the most simple structure for red wigglers, and additionally the most economical - though there are commercial worm bins convenient you might in addition to that doubtlessly assemble your own for lower than $15 with a plastic receptacle from Wal-Mart or related department store. Worm bins are besides that marvelous room savers and ought to be stowed beneath sinks, in cabinets and storage areas, mud rooms, garages, and for all practical purposes anywhere else.

Worm Farms
A worm farm is an architecture composed of a series of bins that are placed literally on top of each other and allow the earthworms to travel in each one. Generally there's a minimum of two tiers, both with ready to use bedding, though the earth worms will lodge in the lowermost bin to get under way. Once you nurture the earth worms for a couple of months and they distend the lowermost tub with castings, you then switch to locating edibles in the higher receptacle to urge them to shift upwards. After a couple weeks you should take off the bottom bin, which ought mostly lacking of worms, acquire the castings and replace the bedding, and use it as the new above layer for your worm farm.

Each one of these ways has its ups and downs. Bins are more condensed but it is more complicated and a lot more time-consuming to pick up the castings; farms support more red wigglers and are simpler to acquire from, but cannot be efficiently hidden if that's your propensity. Ordinarily, both are positive approaches for Vermiculture, and each person can gauge which one can be adopted into their way of life better. ]>
Why Your Dog Barks http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/why-your-dog-barks.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/why-your-dog-barks.html Tue, 30 Oct 2007 00:00:00 -0700
It can also create unnecessary duties for animal control or police officers charged with upholding anti-barking ordinances. In some cases it can also lead to the relinquishment of the dog by an owner who does not know how to solve the problem.

Before a barking problem can be solved, a dog's owner must first understand why the dog is barking. For many dogs, chronic barking or howling is a cry for help. A dog who does not receive enough care or attention from his owner often becomes a barker.

Dogs are social animals, and they need exercise and interaction with their human companions - and sometimes other dogs. Some dogs are simply bored when left alone in the home or the yard while the owner is away, and will bark at a passerby or at neighborhood disturbances.

Owners of these dogs may not understand that a dog cannot be expected to sit quietly or entertain himself while his owner is away. Once a dog owner has determined that the dog's social needs are being met, he or she must look for appropriate and effective ways to control the barking and prevent their dogs from becoming a nuisance to family and neighbors.

Eliminating problem barking

If your dog barks at a passerby, try closing him out of rooms or outside areas that border streets and sidewalks when he must be home alone. For dogs kept exclusively indoors, simply putting the dog outside does not often solve the problem. However, allowing a dog who barks when left outdoors to remain inside may be effective.

For some dogs, barking is simply an entertaining way to spend a long or boring day. Safe chew or play toys may help provide entertainment. A mid-day visit and a game of fetch with a professional pet-sitter, or a trusted adult neighbor, will also help to pass time and prevent barking.

Before beginning training with the No Bark Collar

No bark collars were created to help dog owners deter unwanted barking. They can be used to control barking when the owner is not present or in other specific situations. However success is dependent on proper use.

]>
Why Your Cat Sleeps All the Time and Other Feline Sleep Facts http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/cats/why-your-cat-sleeps-all-the-time-and-other-feline-sleep-facts.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/cats/why-your-cat-sleeps-all-the-time-and-other-feline-sleep-facts.html Sun, 23 Nov 2008 00:00:00 -0800
Kitties really have two types of sleep. Both types of sleep are required to have a healthy, happy feline. One is known as the cat nap where the animal can wake easily. This kind of sleep allowed for felines in the wild to arouse quickly whenever a threatening situation arose. Sometimes the cat's eyes may be partially open during their napping.

The other kind is the deep sleep like human slumber. Cats dream during their deep sleep. You may occasionally see tails jerking, paws twitching, or hear small meows as the kitty dreams of chasing that mouse. Their eyes may move quickly when closed when they are in the REM phase of sleep. During this stage, the feline's body repairs itself and immune functioning is strengthened. This deep sleep stage only lasts for a few hours each day. The remainder of the time the feline is sleeping is comprised of cat naps.

Felines enjoy snoozing in high places. There, they have the best view of everything going on about them. When the temperature is cold, laying in sunny places or soft, cozy spots like your bed are also kitty favorites. You may also find kitty laying with her paws covering her face which reduces heat loss. In the heat, cats often choose a high, shaded spot.

The primary reason that cats sleep so much is that in the wild, they had to be capable of chasing prey which necessitates short bursts of enormous energy expenditure. A feline had to be well-rested to have enough strength to catch dinner. As the majority of cats do not have to furnish their own meals these days, many felines are now overweight.

Kittens sleep even more than adult cats. Nature designed the young felines this way so that they would have less chance of wandering away from the nest and getting harmed. Also, they have less opportunity to make noise that could attract a predator. As felines enter their senior years, their need for sleep diminishes somewhat.

Felines tend to sleep during the day and be awake during the night. If this is not your preference, you can influence this habit by playing with kitty during the day and making sure that there is a lot of stimulating activity available when the sun is out.

If you have a baby in the house, make sure to keep your pet away when the baby is sleeping. Since kitties like warm places, they may try to sleep with your child and accidentally suffocate him or her.

Whenever you observe a major change in your kitty's sleeping habits, a veterinary exam is called for. Certain illnesses can interrupt sleep, and you'll want to address any medical condition as soon as possible.

If you get jealous of your kitty's laid back lifestyle, just remember that he is genetically programmed to sleep a lot. Your cat sleeps all the time because it just happens to be normal cat behavior. ]>
Why Rottweiler Training Is A Must When You Own This Awesome Breed http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/why-rottweiler-training-is-a-must-when-you-own-this-awesome-breed.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/why-rottweiler-training-is-a-must-when-you-own-this-awesome-breed.html Fri, 07 Jan 2011 10:47:49 -0800
The span of time that you simply wait to discover any enjoyment associated with acquiring this unique four-legged friend might be priceless time gone. Seeing that a growing number of family dog enthusiasts understand or know that the actual problems of these canines aren't any different in comparison to other types of family pets, only then will they a be taken away from the general public eye as an aggressive pet dog. A simpler dog to teach could be most challenging to locate. An individual ought to first give a training course for your Rottweiler serious thought in order to make it positive for both you and your Rottweiler. Any time maintaining these dogs as pets it is crucial that you simply keep management of your four-legged friend always first in mind. Supervising a rightly considered Rottweiler training course may be the very first place to start whenever you are considering having one of these brilliant pets.

Rottweiler training is effortless due to the fact this special breed is incredibly receptive, as striving to please their masters is actually a purely natural instinct that happens via being pack dogs. Rottweiler puppies think of their master just as their very own pack leader and therefore, make a lot of important things straightforward with regard to their particular masters and training. For instance, in the event that you actually would like to train the Rottweiler to Sit, virtually all you need to do is state SIT and possibly press your Rottweiler's behind downward with your foot or maybe sit lower yourself. Your Rottweiler will be certain to follow this the next time. A person can consider the exact same with Halt, Fetch, along with DROP orders. Generally there are usually a good deal of factors involved in Rottweiler training.

To help with making him most at ease be sure to teach him house training as soon as you can because this will probably alleviate any tension while you're out or perhaps when he can be on his own inside the house. Any young dog can have excessive energy levels, and also full-grown dogs as well, that may be easily converted into out and out aggression when he isn't correctly worked out. Violence doesn't have any place in any kind of dog when it is coming from not having enough activity.

Choose to be certain to walk your pet every single day because leaving him to run around the yard will not likely give him the connections to you that he requires. If he's contained in the yard be sure you spend more time with your pet and do not leave him on his own right through the day with no communication and interaction, together with you.

The most beneficial technique to train your Rottweiler might be to take a look at their background before you start off. They were being originally prepared as herding dogs which in turn indicates they are working dogs. Any unfavorable qualities your dog could possibly possess from its past may easily be controlled by using the right training and workout. For you to help make your training periods a success be confident that you have an understanding of all which is needed with Rottweiler training. By no means be in a race to teach or train your Rottweiler. This is a extremely brilliant breed of dog and could sense your disappointment or anger. Bear in mind he simply desires to please you, and in the event that he is definitely not acquiring what you are teaching, then you will want to evaluate your training plan or perhaps search for an experienced trainer.

What an excellent choice you have made in deciding upon a Rottweiler as your new dog. Never fail to keep in mind this dog definitely will be exactly what it is you desire it to become. Irrespective of whether a protector or companion this excellent dog will certainly, constantly, be there for you. Start treating him correctly and give him proper Rottweiler training and you will certainly wish that you understood why they have been held in high regards long before today. Take pleasure in the encounter with your great Rottweiler! ]>
Why Is Your Dog Whining? (And Driving You Nuts) http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/why-is-your-dog-whining-and-driving-you-nuts.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/why-is-your-dog-whining-and-driving-you-nuts.html Sun, 24 Oct 2010 11:59:27 -0700
1. Listen to the different "voices" of your dog. Your dog is not whining or barking for no reason. Has he spotted another animal? Did someone enter your backyard and your dog is defending his territory? Maybe he needs food or water?

2. is your dog whining rather than barking? Whining is a sign that your dog is in distress and you need to check that your dog is OK.

3. Dogs whine when they are feeling lonely. Dogs are very social animals, in their natural settings they live together in packs. If you have been gone all day your dog may be whining out of loneliness. Set aside the first 10 minutes when you get home from work to play and socialize with your dog and you will stop the whining in it's track. It is also a stress relief for you to interact and love your dog after a stressful day at work.

4. having your dog locked out in the back yard is a surefire way to make him whine, and to make your neighbors hate you. Your dog wants to be with you and misses your companionship which is had inside the house. Your dog may be whining until you take him in whether that happens within the next 10 minutes or 10 hours. For the sake of your dog and your neighbors, leave your dog inside the house when you are away.

Should you discipline a dog that is whining? No, whining is always a sign of distress and punishing a dog that is stressed can make the behavior even worse. Hitting your dog or putting him outside as punishment is the wrong course of action.

]>
Who's Missing From Your Wedding Party? Your Dog! http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/whos-missing-from-your-wedding-party-your-dog.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/dogs/whos-missing-from-your-wedding-party-your-dog.html Mon, 10 Jul 2006 00:00:00 -0700
Gone to the Dogs?

What fuels the trend to add Fido to the ceremony? Opinions differ, but one is the way that weddings are changing: once they were a purely formal affair, with formal language and dress that hardly seemed to relate to our real lives at all. But many of today's couples are trying to bring more of the things we really say into the ceremony -- sometimes by writing our own vows -- and more of how we really look, which sometimes means bypassing the traditional white dress. And for many of us, our patient pooch is a lot like a child or a two-footed companion. He might have his own furniture, his own shelf full of tasty organic treats, his own set of smart fashion accessories. And whither we go, he goes ... just like any other family member. No wonder many couples don't think twice about bringing him to the altar.

But not every dog makes the perfect bridal party member. No matter how much you might love the mischievous antics of your wayward canine at home, it's only the well-trained, responsive dog that should share your big day. If your dog comes, sits, is good with groups, and can be relied on to hold a "down-stay," he's a candidate. If not, leave him home, or invest in some obedience classes straight away.

You'll also want to clear your pup's presence with the powers-that-be well ahead of time. Yes, it's a little surprising, but with the rising popularity of dogs in weddings, it's a fair bet that your officiant will give you the green light. Many banquet halls at hotels will also say "yes" to a well-behaved pet on your big day, provided you have a handler.

Dressed for Success

Once you've got the go-ahead, the greatest fun in including your dog is dressing him up. Popular choices for pint-sized wedding apparel include adorable jeweled collars, miniature tuxes or bridal gown, and crystal-encrusted combs and barrettes. Diane Meier Delaney of "The New American Wedding" draped her pooch in an ornate floral arrangement that literally took her guests' breath away (but discuss this option thoughtfully with your florist -- avoid poisonous flowers and steer clear of scratchy wires).

Now that you've ordered his attire and your dog's all set to work hard at your wedding, why not plan to treat him? You can purchase adorable cakes and cupcakes designed for occasions that are perfectly safe for your dog: delicious-looking confections made with wheat flour or oatmeal and bananas or honey, dripping with carob and studded with candy dog bones. Or you can make your own -- just search the net for some tested, dog-safe recipes that avoid excess fat and sugar, and pass on canine no-nos like chocolate, grapes, avocados, coffee and certain nuts. ]>
Who Are Your Power Animals http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/zoo-animals/who-are-your-power-animals.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/animal-information/zoo-animals/who-are-your-power-animals.html Sat, 04 Nov 2006 00:00:00 -0800
Imaginary Guides

You can think of your Animal Totems as imaginary guides on your life journey. You might also think of them as Power Animals because each one imparts a special energy, or power, to your life.

By observing how each animal lived, found mates, located food and protected itself, Native Americans were able to define the animal's particular strengths and weaknesses. For example, bears hibernated during the winter, so it was said that they possessed the magic of dreams. They were also formidable foes, so Bear Energy was also about physical power and strength.

It's fascinating to note that different cultures (not just Native Americans) came up with similar interpretations for all individual animals.

Spiritual Energies

Native Americans as well as other cultures used Shamans to help them connect with the Earth around them, and with the power of the animals. Using dreams and visions, these Shamen would connect with the "manitou" of the animals. The manitou of an animal is its primal spiritual energy- wolfness, deerness, foxness...etc.

It was believed that every human being had a particular manitou (or several) which they were especially attuned to. These were their personal animal totems.

They discovered their totems through vision quests, although sometimes the totem made themselves known in other ways. For example, if you were attacked by a wild animal, it was believed that that particular animal totem had chosen you itself.

Physical and Spiritual Qualities

Each animal that exists has several qualities, both physical and spiritual. The qualities in your personal Animal Totems are qualities that you might connect with, feel a deep affinity towards, or simply need more of in your life.

Here are some brief descriptions of the qualities of a few animals. Read carefully. One of them just might be one of your Animal Totems.

Skunk: Self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect, creative energy, paying attention to intuition and inner knowings

Alligator: Power to survive, keeper of ancient wisdom, clairvoyance

Cat: Magic, mystery, curiosity, independence, healing, unpredictability, inner balance, moving through fears

Frog: Seeing in all directions, physical and emotional cleansing, metamorphosis, creative power

Shark: Peace, solitude, emotional transformation, power of protection

Your Animal Totems instruct and protect you throughout your life’s journey. When you discover an animal that speaks strongly to you, an animal you feel you must draw more deeply into your life, try surrounding yourself with images of this animal. This will let the animal know it is welcome in your space.

Finding Your Animal Totems

One way to “meet” one of your Animal Totems is to do a guided visualization. Create Sacred Space by using music, a candle, incense, or a smudge stick. Sit quietly and very slowly scan your body, paying particular attention to each of the seven chakras. Then choose one chakra to return to and focus your attention there. Ask the animal who resides there to make its nature known to you. Wait. Listen. Watch.

Remember to be patient. Don’t give up. You might not “see” anything the first time you do this.

Sometimes your Animal Totem is nearby, just out of your sight, watching you to see if you’re serious about connecting with it. Continue to do this guided visualization until one of your animals makes itself known to you.

During your meditation, when you do “meet” one of your Animal Totems, look it in the eye and remember to greet it with affection and curiosity. Ask it how it’s feeling today. Ask it its name.

Remember that this encounter is totally in your imagination; therefore it is in your control. There is nothing to fear.

At some point, move from your body into the body of the animal. Look at yourself from the eyes of this sacred animal and notice what you see. After a while, return to your own body and continue your conversation with it.

Ask your Animal Guide the following questions, so that you can learn more about its meaning for you and its place on your journey:

Who are you?
What do you have to give me?
What do you want from me?
How will I remember what you have taught me?


Be sure to give it ample time to respond, and expect to be surprised!

You might be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by an animal that makes itself known to you. Try to accept the animal who wants to be with you rather than forcing a different one to be there.

Trust the process- My Summer of Skunks

It is generally believed that an Animal Totem chooses you, and not vice versa. The animals you love just might be your totems but then again, they might not! The animals which come to you when you are open and accepting are the ones you need to work with. They will have the strengths and weaknesses that you already posses, and they will have lessons for you to learn.

A few years ago, I was continually seeing skunks in our front yard, even in broad daylight. This is highly unusual skunk behavior, I assure you! A few times I also glimpsed a white skunk with a black stripe!

Later, I learned that skunks are really about self-respect, self-esteem, and inner protection through intuition. And I was seeing them at a season of my life when I felt completely powerless and unprotected regarding some difficult family situations which directly affected my self-respect and self-esteem.

Coincidence? I think not! I haven’t seen them brazenly walk across my front yard since that summer several years ago. I believe that Skunk had a message for me that year, and I believe that if I need him again, he will be there.

Honor Your Animal Guides with SoulCollage®

SoulCollage® is a personal growth tool that is a mystical magical blend of intuitive art and imaginative play. It was created by Seena Frost in 1989 as she worked with clients in her therapy practice in California.

One of the suits in the SoulCollage® deck is Companions, where you can create unique collaged cards to honor your special animal guides. Making a card like this, and working with it within the SoulCollage® process is an excellent way to honor these special animal energies, and to get to know your animal totems in a creative, imaginative way. ]>
Whipsnade wolves http://www.animalloverworld.com/greetings/zoo-animals/whipsnade-wolves.html http://www.animalloverworld.com/greetings/zoo-animals/whipsnade-wolves.html Thu, 12 Jul 2007 00:00:00 -0700
I wanted to find out why the mythical image of Canis Lupus is still haunting and why, even in modern times, he still holds the capability to evoke such passion. He has lived amongst us for thousands of years, and yet still he remains the most feared and persecuted of all wild mammals.

Most of the research on wolf ecology and behaviour, involves field studies, radio tracking and aerial surveys, and through the pioneering efforts of Dr David L Mech and other leading biologists, we now have a far greater understanding of this shy and illusive creature.

However, being a complete novice and armed only with a camcorder, a pair of rickety binoculars and a notepad and pen, I set off on a cold and damp February morning to Whipsnade Wild Animal Park for my first encounter with the Whipsnade wolves.

I arrived just after 8am in the morning. The park boasts some 600 acres, laid out in natural surroundings and luckily for me, Wolf Wood was only a few hundreds yards away from the main entrance.

I was thankful that I had remembered my binoculars, for they are an essential item to any field study and enabled me to identify individuals and observe behaviour at close quarters.

At Whipsnade, there are obvious differences with pack behaviour. Their food is provided and territory limited, but the social hierarchy remains the same. The pack consists of a mated alpha pair and their offspring. Only one cub had been produced that year, which contradicts the usual litter of up to six in the wild.

Diet consists of meat obtained from a local butcher, which is thrown into the enclosure at random, usually early morning between 8.30am and 9.30am before the gates open to the public.

On the fourth week of my visit, the keeper had wheeled round a feast of fallow deer. It was a park animal which had died the day before and following a post mortem to ensure that the carcass was free from disease, it was cut up to serve as a meal that the wolves may hunt naturally in the wild.

Two of the sixteen wolves had been injured. One a male, had been quite severely bitten and the wound was still bloody. It appeared that they were both higher ranking individuals and had attempted to mate when the alphas pair intervened.

The female had suffered similar injury through her exile had only been temporary, whereas the male, despite constant attempts to rejoin the group (this was done by intermittent circling around the pack), was persistently pushed back to the far end of the enclosure by the alphas male.

Throughout my time at the park, the outsider continued his advance in passive submission, yet the alpha’s reaction remained threatening. The outsider had obviously lost his status for good. As in the wild, the alpha male continued to assert his authority. He is most self assured and the only one to be seen lifting his leg whilst urinating. He often approached the public with a far bolder stance than his pack mates, with his tail held high.

There appeared to be rank relationships during feeding, they threatened and directed intimidation behaviour toward each other, and at times there were biting frays, but real confrontation was not observed at that time.

Body language is like a communicative signal which depends on the behaviour of his pact mates. Undisturbed, the body is relaxed whilst his ears seem to follow the direction of sound like finely tuned radar signals.

Although I had witnessed noisy confrontations during feeding, on no occasion did it lead to serious fighting, but I was intrigued to observe a lower ranking wolf defending a piece of meat. I thought it rather comical at the time, for facially he appeared threatening with ears forward, yet his hind legs were bent and his tail was tucked firmly between them.

During late morning, early afternoon, the pack went to ground which I found rather frustrating, so I turned my attention to the great British public milling around the enclosure. It was interesting to note the varied remarks from parents as they spied a wolf or two lazing in the undergrowth.

All to often I would hear songs such as ‘Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf’, but on the whole, comments were favourable and I was often approached for information by curious people as I took notes and filmed my subjects.

My study took most of that year, and was a unique opportunity for me to observe wolves in a much greater freedom than the confines of a zoo.

For conservation to be successful we need knowledge and understanding. My study was only possible with the help of Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, where they continue to enjoy the protection of captivity.

In an ideal world, the wolf should be left where he belongs, in freedom, but it is extremely difficult to change the opinion that this earth is for humans and all else should be subordinate. Whatever their outcome, one slow floating howl through a midnight sky still holds the ability to set even the faintest heart aflutter.

Written by Nina Cole - www.ninasnanniesforpets.co.uk
]>