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Genus: Chrysocyon (C. E. H. Smith, 1839)
Species: C. brachyurus
Binomial name: Chrysocyon brachyurus
The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America, resembling a big fox with reddish fur.
This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees, in south-eastern Brazil (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Goiás and São Paulo), Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia east of the Andes, and Peru. It formerly occurred in Uruguay. IUCN lists it as near threatened, while it is considered vulnerable by the Brazilian government (IBAMA). It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon.
The Maned Wolf has often been described as "a Red Fox on stilts" due to its similar coloration and overall appearance, though it is much larger than a Red Fox and belongs to a different genus. The adult animal stands almost 1 m (3 ft) tall at the shoulder, and weighs 20 to 25 kg. (50 to 55 lb). The long legs are probably an adaptation to the tall grasslands of its native habitat.
The Maned Wolf's fur is reddish brown to golden orange on the sides, with long, black legs and a distinctive black mane. The coat is further marked with a whitish tuft at the tip of the tail and a white "bib" beneath the throat. The mane is erectile, and is typically used to enlarge the wolf's profile when threatened or when displaying aggression.
Hunting and territoriality
Unlike other large canids (such as the Gray Wolf, the African Hunting Dog, or the Dhole) the Maned Wolf does not form packs. It hunts alone, usually between sundown and midnight. It kills its prey by biting on the neck or back, and shaking it violently if necessary. Monogamous pairs may defend a shared territory of about 30 km² (11.6 sq mi), though the wolves themselves may seldom meet, outside of mating. The territory is criscrossed by paths that the wolves create as they patrol at night. Several adults may congregate in the presence of a plentiful food source; a fire-cleared patch of grassland, for example, which would leave small vertebrate prey exposed to foraging wolves.
Both male and female Maned Wolves use their urine to communicate, e.g. to mark their hunting paths, or the places where they have buried hunted prey. The urine has a very distinctive smell, which some people liken to hops or cannabis. The responsible substance is very likely a pyrazine, which occurs in both plants. (In the Rotterdam Zoo, this smell once set the police on a hunt for cannabis smokers.)
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