Wolf Behavior
Below is a general guide to realistic wolf behavior. While you do not have to follow this guide verbatim, it exists as a reference to supplement your writing.

As a reminder, characters under the age of 4 months can not leave the pack land or reach the border without a guardian present. Characters under 1 year of age are still considered puppies for all achievement and pack related purposes.

Aging Chart
Age Human Equivalency Description
Month 1
Newborn, Toddler
For the first several weeks of life, pups are completely blind, deaf, and toothless. After roughly 2 weeks, their eyes open for the first time, and they begin to grow milk teeth. At the end of one month, they start to explore their den and the area directly beyond the entrance.

Pups cannot stray far from the den (i.e. to pack borders, other lands) without a guardian present. Pups die without a nursing mother.

Month 2
5 Years
Pups begin to eat meat and start the weaning process at this age. They grow in confidence and coordination, and may be introduced to the pack at large. They are independent enough to explore their home territory, but quickly get tired.

Pups cannot stray far from the den (i.e. to pack borders, other lands) without a guardian present. Pups die without a nursing mother.

Month 4
8 Years
Pups are roughly a quarter of their full adult height. Their milk teeth begin to fall out, and they eat exclusively meat. At this point, they also lose quite a bit of their puppy “fluffiness” as their adult fur begins to grow, and their patterns become more defined.

Pups can feasibly reach other lands without a guardian (but going far from home territory is unlikely). Pups cannot yet hunt.

Month 6
10 Years
After a period of rapid growth, pups are generally gangly and awkward at this stage. They are a little bit taller than half of their full adult height and have not yet grown comfortable with their body. At this stage, they begin to take an active interest in hunting, fighting, and pack hierarchy. They largely resemble adults in all but size.

Month 8
12 Years
Though they physically resemble adults, eight month old pups are still relatively immature and prone to bursts of puppyish energy. They are capable of hunting small game on their own, and even cooperating on larger, longer hunts with older pack members. They have most, if not all, of their adult teeth by this point.
Year 1
16 Years
The wolf has reached their full adult height, but will continue to fill out and gain muscle over the next year until they have reached their adult weight. They can hunt on their own, though generally lack the expertise of an older wolf, and do not possess the power and stamina associated with fully developed musculature. Mood swings are common as the wolf experiences hormonal changes; many yearlings leave their natal packs.
Year 2
21 Years
The character has reached their full adult height and weight, and can now breed and produce pups of their own. They are young and energetic, though mature enough that they can be trusted with higher pack ranks and responsibilities.
Year 3-6
31-49 Years
The wolf is considered in the “prime” of their life. With several years under their belt, they are well rounded and experienced, and generally in peak physical condition.
Year 7-9
53-67 Years
At seven years of age, the wolf has reached elder status. They may begin experiencing arthritis and a general lack of youthful energy. At this point, they are less interested in physical pursuits, and tend to require more sleep.
Year 10
77 Years
The wolf is a venerable elder by this point; they have developed health issues that prevent them from hunting. Joint pain, yellowed teeth, and hair loss is prevalent. Usually they also have associated hearing and vision loss. They lose most of their musculature, and their stamina shrinks severely.
Year 11
Wolves die once they have reached 11 years of age. You may post a death thread near their time of aging up, or simply request that a staff member moves them to the deceased category.
For Folklore, scent lasts on fur for 2 weeks. Scent on fur can be concealed by strong smells (blood, dung, etc.) but, once the concealant wears off, it can be noticed. Additionaly, contrary to intuition, scents are refreshed by rain, not washed away.

In threads where a scent is important, first discuss with your RP partners in terms of what is most realistic. If you cannot come to an agreement, staff will help mediate. Here are quick rules of thumb:
1. If the time between the scent being acquired and the scent being noticed is less than 2 OOC weeks the scent will be noticed
2. If the time between the scent being acquired and the scent being noticed is more than 2 OOC weeks the scent will not be noticed
3. Characters cannot pick up scents of where another character has been from the environment (soil, leaves, twigs, etc.) unless the characters are in the same thread.

General Biology
Wolves are highly social animals, and the pack structure is integral to their success and survival. An alpha male and female pair typically dominate and control the pack structure. They are usually a breeding pair, and the alphas determine important aspects of pack life, such as when the pack will travel and when they will hunt. Within the pack territory, wolves often live together in dens. These dens tend to be located near a water source on dry slopes. Wolves may dig the dens themselves, or they may fashion dens into pre-existing natural structures like boulders or fallen trees. Though typically only the alpha pair is permitted to breed, on Folklore, any pack wolf has the opportunity to breed. Wolf pups are born blind and deaf, and they spend a significant amount of their young lives dependent on their mother and the rest of the pack. During the first three weeks, wolf pups are especially dependent on their mother’s milk; at around eight weeks, they begin to experiment with solid food. At six to eight months, pups begin to travel with their packs and may participate in hunts.

Wolves are capable of roaming great distances, with some traveling on average 70 miles a year. Most of this roaming is a search for food. Wolves may prey on large animals, such as elk or deer, but typically require the aid of a pack to bring down such large game. However, lone wolves are opportunistic feeders, and will also hunt for smaller animals such as rabbits. They will scavenge on dead carcasses, and they are known to feed on vegetation at times if food is scarce. They will even venture into the ocean for sea creatures such as mussels to eat.

Wolves are strategic animals, and they tend to target sick, young, or injured animals that will be easier to kill. Wolves are not likely to attack a full-grown and healthy adult when there are older or younger prey options available.

Wolves communicate in a variety of ways. While Folklore allows for direct anthropomorphized speech in its characters, there are other ways that you can communicate your wolf’s emotions and contextualize their feelings more subtly.

Ears - A confident, self-assured wolf will have ears pressed firmly forward on the head, especially in cases where the wolf is attempting to assert dominance. A comfortable wolf who is not attempting to display dominance will have forward- or side-facing, loose ears. Lowered ears indicate fear or submission, especially if pressed tightly to the back of the skull.

Eyes - Wolves will rarely meet each other’s eyes; for one wolf to stare at another is often seen as a challenge. A submissive wolf will always avert their gaze from a more dominant one.

Fur - A relaxed wolf will have “poofy” fur; relaxed hair follicles will make the fur flow and arch. A nervous or fearful wolf will have flattened, sleek fur, which is done in the hopes of making themselves look smaller. By contrast, “raising their hackles”, or making the longer streak of fur on the spine and shoulders stand stiff, is done as a display to make the wolf look bigger.

Mouth - A frightened or submissive wolf will pull their lips back; licking the lips is also an sign of nervousness or indecision. A more dominant wolf will have a tight, hard mouth.

Tail - A relaxed wolf will have a loose tail that hangs perpendicular to the ground. Wolves do not often wag their tails like dogs, but they may wave it when feeling especially playful or when initially greeting a pack member. A high, stiff tail is a sign of dominance; a stiff tail that is held parallel to the ground is a sign of imminent attack. Wolves tuck their tails in between their legs to show fear or submission.

Body - A submissive wolf will always attempt to make themselves seem smaller than a more dominant one. In cases of active submission, the lower wolf might roll over and show their throat and belly to the more dominant wolf. A dominant wolf will carry their head high, while a submissive wolf will tend to duck their head low.

Dominance & Submission
Dominance and submission also play a large role in how a wolf communicates with others; as you can see above, much of a wolf’s body language is determined by how they interpret the social dynamics and hierarchy of the wolves around them. As a general rule,

- Pack members will always display some sort of deference or submission to a pack leader
- A pup will always display deference and/or submission to an adult
- A loner will usually display deference and/or submission to any wolf belonging to a pack

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