Offbeat — 13 November 2013

Wolves Howl at the Moon

If you ask people walking down the street what they know about wolves, they are likely to list “howling at the moon” in the top 5 answers for sure. We try to explore what makes some people believe that wolves howl at the moon.

Wolves howl at night with their heads pointed to the sky

Yes, it is true that wolves howl at night and, yes, it is also true that sometimes their faces are turned towards the moon. But in a jungle, during the nighttime, a wolf, or any other animal’s face is bound to face the moon when they look up. And the reason why wolves title their heads up towards the sky is that they need to maximize the effectiveness of their vocal cords. Hence, the entire wolves howling at the moon thing is just them using the best possible acoustics.

Old wives tale and fantasy literature

Down the generations, old wives tales and fantasy literature has propagated the belief that wolves howl at the moon during full moon nights. Some people even believe that wolves do so because on full moon nights because the spirits are communicating with them. That is about as true as witches having conventions to enhance their magical powers on full moon nights.

Wolves are nocturnal beings

Wolves are nocturnal beings. This means that they actually go through a better part of their regular routine during the night. Since communicating with the pack is an important part of wolves’ lives, they howl to let their voices be heard by every member of their pack. The upward tilting of the head allows the voices of the wolves to be heard further into the jungle.

The generalization that wolves howl at the moon happens to be one of the most common beliefs about the mysterious animals.


About Author

Anupam Jolly

With a bachelor’s degree in technology and over five years of experience in online content generation and distribution, Anupam Jolly has been creating and editing content spanning across a variety of domains. An avid environmentalist, Anupam Jolly believes that if humans can degrade the environment, they can save it from disaster too.

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