The Lone Wolf – A Challenge Accepted

One of my favorite bloggers, Mathew, of Blog of the Wolf Boy, posted an article in which he issued a challenge to his readers. Take a look and see if you might want to join in the fun. I could not turn down the challenge any more than I could turn down the chance to win a signed copy of his first book. Here is my editorial answer to that challenge.


“In the calm, deep waters of the mind, the wolf waits.” F.T. McKinstry

The lone wolf has become the archetype and greatest metaphor for individualism and independence. Understanding that wolves are generally pack animals, the lone wolf evokes a sense of not belonging or not being accepted. Alone it must face all the severities of life, provide for itself, and protect itself. Its isolation romanticized by the idea that it has walked away from its pack by choice. That it has set out on a unique path. Born to lead, it cannot be subjugated to follow. It has bravely chosen to live its own life, separate from others.

“If you live among wolves you have to act like a wolf.” – Nikita Khrushchev

But there is a closer metaphor that is a truer embodiment of its nature. Wolves are pack animals for sure. But the basic social unit consists of a mated pair, accompanied by their adult offspring. The average pack consists of a family of five to eleven wolves (two adults, three to six juveniles, and one to three yearlings). We refer to them as packs, but they are not individual wolves banding together, they are all related family.

“I guess I’m pretty much of a lone wolf. I don’t say I don’t like people at all, but to tell you the truth, I only like it then if I have a chance to look deep into their hearts and their minds.” – Bela Lugosi

In ideal conditions, the mated pair produces pups every year, with such offspring typically staying in the pack for 10–54 months before dispersing. Triggers for dispersal include the onset of sexual maturity and competition within the pack for food. Whether they are run off by the breeding male or leave on their own, their exclusion from the pack is more a necessity than an altruistic choice. And when they do leave, it is not a decision to be alone forever. They leave to start their own pack. A new pack is usually founded by an unrelated dispersing male and female, travelling together in search of an area devoid of other hostile packs.

“The Canis Lupus, both wolf and man, were meant to be a family with one another. We gain strength through our bond with each other.” – Quinn Loftis

And there is good reason for this. Though as lone wolves they may be stronger, more aggressive, and far more dangerous than the average wolf that is a member of a pack, they have difficulty hunting the wolves’ favorite prey: large ungulates, which are troublesome for a single wolf to bring down alone. Instead, lone wolves generally hunt smaller animals and scavenge carrion, and scent mark their territory less frequently than other wolves.

“We humans fear the beast within the wolf because we do not understand the beast within ourselves.” –Gerald Hausman

Though the image of the lone wolf will always be that symbol of fierce independence and individualism, its nature is more that of a coming of age story. Young wolf leaves family to find and start his own family. The iconic image of the lone wolf howling at the moon from hilltop would suggest it is calling out to somebody, not choosing to stay alone.

Comments
4 Responses to “The Lone Wolf – A Challenge Accepted”
  1. Very interesting take and informative response to the challenge. I love it. Thanks for sharing! Great write up. I’ll be sure to add you to the list 😁🐺🌲

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  1. […] to a writing challenge before, as I did for Mathew at Blog of the Wolf Boy, with my posts ‘The Lone Wolf – A Challenge Accepted’ and ‘The Lone Wolf – A Poem’. But this felt completely different. I was being asked not to […]



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