Facts about Texas Grey Wolfs. "Scientific name for Texas Grey Wolf is Canis lupus monstrabilis". This Grey Wolf subspecies is extinct in Texas and the rest of its range. Related subspecies are endangered or hybridized with related species like coyotes.
Appearance of Texas Grey Wolf
These Texas Grey Wolves were darker than the light and dark grey that defines the modern wolf. Texas Grey Wolves are dark grey, brown, and sometimes dusted with black fur. A few Texas Grey Wolf specimens were white. The Texas Grey Wolf had a higher arch to the frontal bone and a darker color than their northern cousins.
There is debate as to which clade of the grey wolf population the Texas wolf fell into. Some consider it part of the Canis lupus baileyi taxonomy, while others put it in the Canis lupus nubilus group. The Texas Grey Wolf may have been a bridge subspecies between the two other populations, which explains its hybrid look. Some even consider the Texas Grey Wolf part of the Mexican Wolf family. Regardless of the classification, the Texas Grey Wolf is extinct. The related Mexican Wolf is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. The Canis lupus nubilius exists, but has been driven out of Texas.
Physical Characteristics of Texas Grey Wolf
The Texas Grey Wolf was small to average sized for a wolf. The Texas Grey Wolves were larger than the Mexican Grey Wolves but smaller than the Great Plains Wolf. They were mostly grey with hints of other colors and a dark stripe along the spine.
Behavior of Texas Grey Wolf
Texas Grey Wolf's primary food was bison until the bison or American buffalo was almost driven to extinction. They shifted their diet toward cattle, garnering the wrath of ranchers who started hunting, trapping, and poisoning the wolves. Longhorn cattle could defend themselves from wolves with defensive rings around the calves and their horns, but Herefords and other cattle were easy prey for Texas Wolves.
Habitat and Range of Texas Grey Wolf
The Texas Grey Wolf was found throughout Texas, southeastern New Mexico, northern Mexico, and western Louisiana. Its range overlapped in the south and west with the Mexican Grey Wolf. The Texas Grey Wolf actually survived in the wild longer than other subspecies of Grey Wolves who disappeared before World War 2. This was because the state provided them more wild territory in which to hide from hunters and ranchers killing animals that attacked their livestock.
The Red Wolf, Canis rufus, shared the same range as the Texas Wolf. The Red Wolf was declared extinct in 1926. The Red Wolf is thought to have interbred with the indigenous coyote, resulting in larger coyotes that hunt in groups and take on larger prey. Red Wolves interbred so much with coyotes that the restoration project for the Red Wolf had trouble finding Red Wolf specimens that were not at least half coyote. However, it is not thought that the Texas Grey Wolf interbred with coyotes, though such breeding was physically possible.
Trivia about Texas Grey Wolf
The Tonkawa Tribe of central Texas believed the wolf brought people into the world.
The Texas Grey Wolf was identified by Edward Goldman in 1937. The subspecies disappeared by 1942. Mexican Grey Wolves were killed near the Texas-Mexico border up until the 1970s, but those wolves were not considered “native” to Texas.
The Mexican Wolf originally lived in west Texas, and Mexican Grey Wolf reintroduction plans included Big Bend National Park. However, the state of Texas refused to allow them, so the animals were released near the Gila River in Arizona instead.