Lee Richardson Zoo

Maned Wolf

Order: Carnivora - Bears, wolves, cats, weasels, etc.
Family: Canidae - Dogs, wolves, hyenas, etc.

Scientific name:  Chrysocyon brachyurus


Description:  Described as a red fox on stilts; having the longest legs in proportion to their spine of any canid. Shoulder height is 29-34 inches, taller than all but the largest gray wolves.  At 44 – 66 lb, they weigh less than half of most wolves. Head –body length 37 – 45 in.  Tail is 15 – 19 ½  in. Skull and teeth similar to the coyote.  The dentition reflects its omnivorous food habits. This animal does not kill or eat large prey, its upper carnassials (shearing teeth) are reduced, its upper incisors weak, and its canines are long and slender. Coat color is reddish-orange; lower legs and muzzle are black; the throat is white and often much of the tail is white.  Common name comes from the mane-like strip of black fur running from the back of the head to the shoulders.  No underfur present.


Home Range:  Central South America; from NE Brazil through the Chaco of Paraguay into Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, west to Bolivia and Peru border; and South into Uruguay and northern Argentina.


Habitat type:  Tall grasslands, shrub habitat, woodland with an open canopy, and wet fields (which may be seasonally flooded); also seen in cultivated areas and pastures. 


Median Life Expectancy:  12.3 years


Reproductive habits:  Maned wolves are monogamous, though males and females tend to live independently except during the breeding season.  Home boundaries appear stable over time and are defended against adjacent pairs.  Termite mounds are preferred urine marking sites.  Scent marking increases during the weeks prior to mating.  Courtship is characterized by frequent approaches, mutual anogenital investigation and playful interactions. Females enter estrus once per year for about 5 days. Peak breeding season is from April to June.  Gestation is about 65 days.  Births occur June to September during the dry season.  Litter size is 2 – 6, with an average of 4.  Pups stay in the mother’s home range for about 1 year before they disperse to other areas.  Juveniles reach maturity at around the same time, but usually do not reproduce until the second year.  The male seems to take an active part in the care of the pups along with the female. Most breeding information comes from captive animals, as there is little documentation on wild populations. 


Diet in Wild:  Omnivorous; consuming mainly fruits and small to medium sized vertebrates; particularly rodents.  They are also known to kill chickens.  Almost all foraging is done from dusk to dawn.  Primary food is the Solanum lycoocarpum, known as wolf apple.  Diet is approximately half plant and half animal material.


Diet in ZooCanine diet, various fruits and vegetables, mice, and an occasional knuckle bone.


General InfoThe most solitary of all canids, living in a variety of habitats.  The Maned Wolf is not an especially swift canid, does not pursue prey for long distances and generally stalks and pounces like a fox.  Its long legs appear to have evolved for life in the grasslands and pampas allowing them to see above the tall grass. The maned wolf was originally placed in the genus Canis (wolves, foxes, etc), but is now in a genus of its own, Chrysocyon


Predators:  Humans seem to be the only predator.


Related Artifacts:  Gray wolf pelt and Skull in Endangered Species Discovery Box.


Conservation status:  The most significant threat is the drastic reduction of habitat, especially due to conversion to agricultural land.  Road kill is one of the main threats in Brazil. Other threats include domestic dogs from urban areas near reserves, which may pursue and kill maned wolves and also be carriers of disease.   Diseases are thought to be a significant cause of death to the wild population.  Red List: Near Threatened; CITES Appendix ll; SSP/Stud book. 



Animal Diversity Website

Grzimek’s Animal Life Encytclopedia, 2nd Edition .Vol. 14, Mammals lll. Edited by Michael Hutchins, Devra G. Kleiman, Valerius Geist, & Melissa C. McDade. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2003.  Pg.282.


Handbook of The Mammals of the World. Vol. 1. Don Wilson & Russell A. Mittermeier.2009. Lynx  Edicions, Barcelona. Pgs. 378, 356,424,


IUCN Redlist