Of all the creatures great and small we saw on our Parc Omega adventure, it was the wolves that most enchanted all of us.
We arrived just a few minutes before the thrice daily feeding show. They don’t actually feed the wolves a full meal, the “animator” host explained. For meal time, they actually drag a full animal carcass into the enclosure and let the wolves feast on that, but then when their bellies are full they laze around and digest for hours. Instead, during the feeding show the host tosses fist-size clumps of meat to the wolves, who are waiting patiently for their treat.
Or in some cases, not so patiently. (This one reminded us of Bella. She sprang up and jumped over and over and over, just like Bella does when she’s impatient.) See how her paws are clear off the snow?
I found the host’s patter fascinating. He told us about wolf society, and how to read their body language to tell the more dominant from the more submissive wolves. He explained what everyone knows, that the alpha is the leader of the pack, but he also talked about the omega, the least dominant member of the pack, and how the omega often takes on the roll of nurturing the pups. He also told us about how they had quite a surprise show on the March Break, and how they were able to count ahead from the March break to the week in May when a new litter of wolf pups should be born!
He also told us to watch carefully after he finished giving the wolves their snack. Once the wolves understood that all the food had been dispensed, there was a ritualistic greeting that went on, where the more submissive dogs licked the faces of the more dominant ones, while the more dominant once often snapped and snarled. It made me wonder if Bella’s almost compulsive need to lick people in the face is an instinctual throwback to that. (Although I’m not sure it will help build the confidence of the many people she’s startled when they lean down to say hi to her and she leaps up to kiss them on the lips in return.)
Even though we were frozen half to death after the 45 minute show, we all agreed that the wolves alone were worth the price of admission AND the time spent in the frigid and un-spring-like cold weather. The host mentioned that in the summer, they’ll be offering a new program with overnight accommodations and a lantern-lit moonlight walk to listen to the wolves howling at night. How awesome would THAT be?
Aren’t they spectacular? Stand by for more photos from the warmer portion of our Parc Omega adventure!