Though there are always variations and odd pairings, a wolf pack typically consists of a mated pair and their cubs. The pair remains together, and their offspring stay with the pack for about three years, until they are old enough to find a mate and start a pack of their own. Since wolves reproduce every year they are able, a pack will probably have some young cubs, a few older children who help with the hunt, and the parents. The parents are considered “alpha” wolves and have seniority, deciding what the pack does and eating first at a kill, but this hierarchy is lass rigid in the wild than is observed in captivity.
Each wolf plays a different role within the pack. The two alphas (alpha male and alpha female) are the leaders (alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet) and they choose where to eat, sleep, and hunt. The other members are all ‘below’ them but respect their place and follow the two alphas in almost everything the group does.
Within the other members of the group (outside of the alphas) each wolf has no significant role although some will try to create dominance or superiority in some way. This is usually established by size, speed, or strength although it can be based on personality in some cases as louder personalities often take the stage, just as with humans.
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