Wolfy Mating Season!
Mating season only occurs once yearly. with the alpha female having only five to seven days of oestrus. During this time, the alpha pair may leave the pack temporarily to avoid interruption from other pack members.
In the north they mate late March or early April. In the southern regions of a wolf’s range mating occurs between late February and mid March. They are usually sexually active by their second year.
In a wolf pack only the leaders – the alpha male and female wolves mate. This promotes birth control keeping the pack numbers in balance with the available food base.
Usually the alpha male has dominance over the entire pack including the alpha female. However during the mating season the alpha female takes total dominance even while the pups are still in the den. This is so the rest of the pack will know that she is the one to serve. She is also the one to decide where the den will be located. Consequently, the pack goes in search of food and brings it back to the den either for the hungry female or for the pups.
If a lower ranking female shows signs of sexual activity the alpha female represses the urge through psychological intimidation. Lower ranking males are in turn inhibited by the alpha male, from returning to seek out the female.
If a lower ranking male is determined to mate and won’t be intimidated by the leaders, it will leave the pack rather than submit and if it doesn’t find a mate rejoins the pack at the end of the breeding cycle.