As pack animals that only rarely live or travel alone, wolves tend to sleep in dens and other enclosed spaces. They also sleep outdoors, either under trees or in rocky crevices, and sometimes they even rest in caves.
When wolves do choose to lie down for a nap, they look for a secluded spot where they won’t be disturbed or spotted by predators. Often, the alpha wolf—who is usually the largest animal in the group—sleeps at the front of the den. This helps them to better keep an eye on the surrounding area, should danger arrive.
Wolves are nocturnal, and they do most of their hunting, traveling, and mating during the night. They also have heightened senses of smell and hearing, so they don’t need to sleep deeply for long periods during the day.
During their rest, wolves conserve heat by curling up into a tight ball. They use their tails to wrap around each other, and this huddle formation promotes warmth and security. This sleeping pattern is known as social thermoregulation.
CMZoo’s Mexican wolves—Navarro, Shadow, Phoenix, Hope and Uno—like their wild counterparts, often sleep curled up together, but they don’t cuddle up once they grow out of puppyhood. This doesn’t mean that they don’t form strong bonds with each other, though. In fact, CMZoo’s pups will often nudge each other as they snooze to make sure their fellow pups are warm enough. They’re also known to turn their heads in circles before settling down, which may be a way of communicating with each other that they’ve found the best place to sleep, and to signal their position should they be startled by a visitor.