Friday, 24 April 2015

Review: 'The Wolf: Ghost Hunter' by Daniel Leboeuf

The Wolf: Ghost Hunter by Daniel Leboeuf, Photos by Thomas Kitchin and Victoria Hurst, 1996, Firefly Books, $19.95, softbound, 142 pages. Cover: cool. Where we got it: Borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

This book contains some particularly interesting facts about an already intriguing predator. For example, Francis I in France organised a wolf hunt in the Middle Ages that took place three times a year; this official hunt was not dismantled until 1971. And in England in 1500, entire forests were burnt to get rid of wolves.

Wolves can hear the ultrasonic vocalisations of rodents, as well as their scurrying sounds. It's likely that a wolf's jaw can exert 200 pounds of pressure per square inch, and they use their jaws like a vise, grabbing and not letting go despite the prey's attempts to throw them off. It's also been said that if the wind is in their favour, wolves can smell three deer from 1.5 miles away; they're also able to hear and interpret sounds from several kilometres away.

A pack averages in size from five to eight members, with 20 or more members in an Alaskan pack. Wolves' diets change with the seasons: ungulates (moose, deer, elk, caribou, muskoxen, and the like) in winter, and small mammals like muskrats, marmots, hares, beavers, birds who nest on the ground, and fish in summer.

The photos alone make this book worthwhile. Great for a wolf lover's library.

If you like this one, try: Of Wolves and Men, by Barry Holstun Lopez.

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