Maned Wolf ,Copyright 2015 Liz Vitale
I am not exaggerating this canine’s legs at all. They really are that long. This is the maned wolf,the largest wild canine of South America. Its coloring resembles that of the fox, but it is not a fox, nor is it a wolf, and it is not closely related to other canines. It is the only species in its genus Chrysocyon, which means “golden dog”.
The average adult weighs 50 lbs and stands 35 inches tall at the shoulder.It has a length of 39 inches with the tail adding another 18. The maned wolf is the tallest of the wild canids. Its long legs most likely are an adaptation to the tall grasslands of its native habitat of open forest, savanna, and marshland in central and southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, eastern Bolivia, and northern Argentina.
These gentle and very timid creatures are solitary by nature except during the breeding season. The maned wolf is omnivorous, eating various fruits, vegetables and meat. It often preys on small birds, rodents and frogs, and favors fruits such as bananas, apples and avocados.
Much like our native true wolves, the maned wolf is misunderstood and widely persecuted. For years it was hunted and killed by farmers who were convinced that maned wolves were killing poultry and livestock. The maned wolf’s small teeth and jaws make it hard for it to kill large prey,but it is usually blamed because of its large size.
The maned wolf is listed as near threatened in its native range,due to loss of habitat by encroaching human populations, the introduction of certain diseases, and the belief that its organs have medicinal healing powers.