The maned wolf is the largest canid of South America.
It is neither a wolf, like its name, nor a fox, like its appearance; it is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon, meaning “golden dog.”
The maned wolf is found primarily in Brazil but there are also populations in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. It is very rare in Uruguay, possibly being displaced completely through loss of habitat.
Their habitat include in grassland, savanna, dry shrub forest, swampy areas, forest-edge habitat, and river areas.
The lifespan of the maned wolf is up to 12 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity.
The Maned Wolf ranges from 125 to 130 centimeters (50 to 52 inches) in length, excluding the 30–45-centimetre (12-18-inch) tail.
Its shoulder height is from 74 to 90 centimeters (2.4 to 2.9 feet), and its weight from 20 to 26 kilograms (44 to 57 pounds).
The Maned Wolf is the tallest of the wild canids; its long legs are likely an adaptation to the tall grasslands of its native habitat.
The maned wolf has a chestnut red coat with a thick, black mane running along the back of their neck and over the shoulders. The muzzle and lower legs are black and the throat and tail are lighter in color.
The maned wolf is omnivorous. It specialises in preying on small and medium-sized animals, including small mammals (typically rodents and rabbits), birds, and even fish, but a large portion of its diet (more than 50%, according to some studies) is vegetable matter, including sugarcane, tubers, and fruit.
The maned wolf is primarily nocturnal. It hunts alone, usually between sundown and midnight.
The maned wolf also differs from true North American wolves in diet and temperament. These gentle and very timid wolves are solitary by nature.
Maned wolves rotate their large ears to listen for prey animals in the grass. They tap the ground with a front foot to flush out the prey and pounce to catch it.
They do not howl, but instead emit loud barks or roar barks to let their mate know where they are, and to warn other wolves to stay away.
Maned wolves are monogamous; males and females live independently except during the breeding season.
Their mating season ranges from November to April. Gestation lasts 60 to 65 days and a litter may have from two to six black-furred pups, each weighing roughly 450 g (16 oz). Pups are fully grown when one year old. During that first year, the pups rely on their parents for food.
Generally, the maned wolf is shy and flees when alarmed, so it poses little direct threat to humans. Popularly, the maned wolf is thought to have the potential of being a chicken thief. It once was considered a similar threat to cattle and sheep, although this now is known to be false.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists maned wolves as near threatened. They are threatened by habitat loss and being run over by automobiles.
The maned wolf is well represented in captivity and has been bred successfully at many zoos, particularly in Argentina, North America and Europe.
The maned wolf is not closely related to any other living canid.