There is a lot to do with new wolf pups! Each pup needs a file created for it, paperwork filled out, and a digital record. All pups are assigned a unique number, and have a small portion of fur cut short to aid in identification. They are then weighed to get a baseline on their health and to keep track of their growth. How do you weigh a wolf pup? With a WSC tote bag and a fish scale, of course!
The pups are fed every four hours, but before they can eat, they have to be stimulated to urinate and defecate. At such a young age, the pup don't have control of their bowels, and they are unable to relieve themselves without a little help. Mother wolves lick the pups in their groin area to get things moving, and actually consume the urine or feces to keep the den neat and tidy. Our puppy nannies don't go quite that far, but they do use cotton balls to get things moving for the pups. After they've been emptied out, an updated weight is taken. Finally, the pups get to eat!
Hand-raised wolf pups are fed Esbilac, a dog puppy milk replacement. It may look like mother's milk, but wolf pups are hard to fool, and they know that this stuff doesn't smell or taste like mom. The rubber nipples we use to feed them certainly don't feel like mom, either! All of these changes can make it difficult for pups to transition to bottle-feeding, and the first couple feedings can be stressful for pups and nannies alike. Eventually, the pups learn to associated the bottle with the comforting full feeling they get from drinking, and feedings begin to go much smoother.
Just like humans, wolves with full bellies like to snooze! It doesn't take long until the pups have climbed on top of one another, falling into a deep sleep. The pups whine, moan, and even howl while they dream, with everything from their tongues to their toes twitching to-and-fro. Intermittently, they get up and crawl around, napping until it's time to start the process all over again!