12. January 2023| Wolf protection, Movies, Poland

Marking by wolves - a family from the Iłża Forest

Wolves leave scent marks on the paths they take when patrolling territory. They are also very eager to mark at intersections of forest roads. We were able to record this behavior on a photo trap.

In the video, we see a male leaving his scent trail, peeing on a clump of plants in a characteristic pose and scratching the soil. A second, young male does exactly the same thing, leaving his scent trail, which mixes with the scent probably left by his brother. Males mark more often than females. After urine marking, we see the male marking the area by what is called scratching. Scratching with the hind paws leaves a characteristic triangular mark on the ground, as well as a secretion of scent glands located between the toes. Thus, by scratching the ground, the wolf leaves an additional scent trail.

Why do wolves mark the ground?  In this particular area, people often walk with dogs and wolves mark on the scent marks left by the dogs. Scent marking is a form of communication between wolves of the same family, but also a warning to strange wolves. In this case, therefore, it is a warning to dogs.

We can observe urine marking and scratching throughout the year, but it intensifies during the breeding season. Then the scent information package includes information not only about the individual, its sex, but also about its reproductive status.

Author: Jacek Major