As a writer and a fan of wolves, I tend to get nitpicky when I see generalizations and misconceptions about wolves in stories. One thing that I’ve see a few times from different places are people that get free of a wolf’s jaws so easily. Whether they wiggle free or manage to get the wolf to release its grip by hitting it on the nose or knocking it unconscious. My personal opinion…these types of situations would be fairly uncommon.

First, let’s take a look at a little of a wolf’s anatomy. Average-sized wolves run between 4.5 to 6.5 feet in length (females being around the 4.5-6 feet and males 5-6.5 feet), and their weight can range from 50 lbs all the way to a hefty 130 lbs. The jaw and skull of a wolf has a denser/thicker bone structure than the rest of their body which makes their jaws very heavy. Their skulls also have an extreme predator trait that prevents the jaw from having any movement from side-to-side (adapted to prevent the predator’s jaw from dislocating while gripping prey that wiggles around a lot plus it’s an evolutionary trait because most wolves are true carnivores, so they don’t need to move their jaws from side-to-side to grind up their food). These combine to make sure a wolf’s jaw remains closed when it bites down…and it can even remain clamped down when unconscious.

Now for the fun part…it’s estimated that these heavy jaws can exert over double the pressure of a standard German shepherd police dog…and over five times what a human can. Those strong wolf jaws can crack through thick bones of large game animals with just a half dozen bites.

Doesn’t sound like the odds would favor any human that had those jaws clamped down on their forearm, does it? Yet, I see some writers treat wolves like dogs. Sure, you might be able to wriggle free from most dogs out there, but then, dogs are domesticated creatures. If you have a wolf latched onto you, you’re food…and that wolf isn’t letting go until it’s taken you down to be eaten. And think about this…if a kicking, bucking 1500 lb. moose has difficulty shaking a wolf loose, what chance does the average human have?

Writers…if you plan on having characters interact with animals, be sure to read up on your creatures first…don’t rely on what you’ve seen in movies, what you’ve seen on TV, or what you’ve heard from your friend’s cousin as he tried to recall a Discovery channel story he saw six months ago. Get the facts for yourself and keep those critters in character…