Until the puppies are weaned the male cannot enter the den; to do so would probably mean his death, as the females are awful in their wrath and a male never gives battle to a female no matter what the provocation. His part, while the female is nursing the family, is to supply her with food, which he brings close to the entrance of the cave, but never over the threshold.
During breeding time the females occupy the den alone. The dens are constructed inside the enclosed pen and are dug into the ground and shored with rocks, forming a dark cave about four feet by eight feet in area and about three feet in height.
The marvelous progress that has been made in taming the females was illustrated last spring when a sudden and heavy rainfall of almost cloudburst proportions flooded one of these caves in which was a mother wolf and four puppies. Three of the little ones were drowned within a few minutes but the mother managed to bring one of them alive out of the den and also brought one of the dead puppies. Sheltering the small one with her body she lay on the roof of the cave when her plight was noticed by her master. He saw that he had a dangerous job on hand to enter the pen and was somewhat doubtful of the results.
Uttering coaxing and soothing noises he approached the frantic animal’s side and took the living puppy from under her where it would soon have suffocated. She snarled menacingly at first but made no move to attack him and the Dr. kept her pacified while one of his assistants brought a portable kennel into the pen.
At once the wolf seemed to realize here was a place of safety and shelter. Seizing the dead puppy in her mouth she an into the kennel. The Dr. placed the live one in the new home and the youngster was eventually raised to be one of the finest specimens in the pack.
It has been found by experiment that the male will go without his own ration in order to provide for his mate and when given an abundance of meat for both will carry the most desirable portions to the caves entrance.
The young wolves grow rapidly and are generally weaned within four weeks. Then the mother shares her meat with them, the little ones snatching food from her mouth in a voracious manner that often calls for maternal reproof.
The she-wolf will grab the small offender, it’s whole head being between her powerful jaws, capable of crushing the largest beef bone to fragments but she will apply just the proper amount of pressure until it yelps and then release the culprit which seldom has to be disciplined in this manner.
There is a strong antipathy existing between dogs and wolves which generally results in battle if there is no avenue of escape for the dog because the most courageous dog will run away to avoid battle with a wolf. When dogs are forced into battle the wolf is invariably victorious.