"Alpha Wolves" are a lie

Learnings about community between wolves and ravens

Whenever I think of wolves I can’t help but think of Furries.

Everyone loves a wolf-fursona SO MUCH that cooler animals (IMHO) fall to the wayside. People love the concept of Alpha wolves, Lone wolves, etc. in a misguided fashion. They forget that science has since shown that wolf packs are nothing like this. There is no “alpha” hierarchy. Wolves do not fight each other for dominance or control of the pack.

In the wild, the worst outcome for a fight is a wound that isn’t quickly recovered from, not death. So, it makes sense that animals will AVOID fighting each other wherever they can. Why would a wolf fight its family members for leadership when it could just leave the pack to start its own? And this does happen. This is where the concept of a Lone wolf came from. When wolves come of age (1-2 years) they will leave the pack in search of a new home and “have travelled as far as 500 miles” (National Park Service, 2021).

Instead, “dominance”, in wolf packs is simply a matter of breeding (International Wolf Center, n.d.). Two parents create offspring. Those offspring become their pack. Many kinds of wolves mate for life, so these progenitor parents may be the only ones mating in the pack. For larger packs, there may be more than one female birthing pups (National Park Service, 2021). However, this still reminds us that wolf packs are first & foremost, families.

They raise their young together. They share the responsibility of protecting, feeding, and watching the young equally.

They are communal.

Photo by Yannick Menard.

So, with the arrival of Wolf Month, I am reminded of family bonds.

Both chosen, as demonstrated by the wolves that search for a new family; and blood ties. I am reminded of guardianship and protection. I am reminded of moving as a community and the deep care that goes into maintaining many bonds.

And when I combine that with my year’s theme, The Crow/Raven1 , I can’t help but think of the special bond they share. After a wolf pack has hunted, the Ravens descend (Yellowstone Forever, 2020). Being scavengers that eat what they can get, why not partner with predators that can be a food source?

While I knew of the bond Wolves and Ravens shared before writing this, I was happy to learn that the bond is deeper than just food sources.

Ravens have often been seen interacting with wolves, especially pups and yearlings. These intriguing birds have been known to grab sticks and play tug-of-war with wolf puppies, to fly over young wolves with sticks and tease the small canines into jumping up to grab the sticks, and even to boldly pull the tails of wolves to initiate a reaction. Some scientists have theorized that individual ravens may even develop special bonds with individual wolves within a pack.

Yellowstone Forever, 2020. Emphasis added.

Overall, this month is shaping up to be very community focused.

I already have some ideas of how this will look! March 7th marks the start of Witch & Famous, facilitated by Captolia. I was immensely grateful to win the giveaway scholarship spot for this program, and I’m so excited to see what I learn being in this community filled with magical people.

You can be sure to hear about my learnings, here, on Instagram, on my second newsletter, and everywhere else I happen to exist online.

1I know Crows and Ravens are very different birds. But in the deck I have, there is no separate Raven card. Thus, I tend to associate them together when it comes to this deck.


International Wolf Center. (n.d.). Alpha wolf: What does it mean, and should it still be used? https://wolf.org/headlines/44265/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20outdated%20pieces,which%20then%20became%20their%20pack.