Born in April of this year, Longleat Safari Park keepers were thrilled when Freda the wolf gave birth to a litter of five healthy pups. This is Freda's third litter but her first inside of the custom birthing den keepers created for her. Although this den was available for the first and second litters, it was not until keepers removed the small digital camera inside that Freda felt comfortable enough to use it.
Longleat Safari keepers are celebrating after the successful birth of five wolf pups. Although the pups were born in late April, it is only in the last few weeks that they have begun to venture outside to explore their new surroundings. The summer sunshine and warm temperatures are just about perfect for some good wolf pup frolicking about and all five can be seen cavorting around Wolf Wood generally bugging mum and dad with their playful behaviour. Longleat’s Deputy Head Warden, Ian Turner, explained: “This is the third litter of pups for alpha male Two Tips and his mate Freda and we’re delighted that once again, everything is going well. “Although wolves typically give birth underground, we built a cubbing den for them about three years ago so that we could provide somewhere warm and dry for them to give birth. We also installed some cameras so that we could capture the moment of birth on film. “Despite some cunning camera camouflage, Freda was obviously more than aware of its presence and has ignored the den for the last two litters. This year, we removed the cameras, and sure enough, she gave birth in the purpose built den”. At birth wolf pups measure around 15cm in length and weigh around 500 grams. They are completely dependent on mum’s milk for the first two weeks before starting on regurgitated foods. They are fully weaned by ten weeks. They live in a highly complex social structure and each knows its place in the pack hierarchy. At about two months, the pups will be moved away from the den to a new site whilst the adults go out to hunt. After a few more weeks, the pups may join the adults as observers in their hunting activities. They start active hunting at about eight months of age.