Listen to the Howls of Wolves

Candice Gaukel Andrews August 22, 2013 20

Wolves are capable of many vocalizations, including barks, growls, moans, snarls, whimpers, whines, and yelps. But even though they make these sounds a lot more often than they howl, it is that sustained, doleful cry that seems to define the wolf for most of us.

Howling keeps members of a pack physically together. Because wolves range over vast areas to find food, they often get separated from one another. Of all their calls, howling is the only one that carries over long distances. Its typical low pitch and long duration are well suited for transmission through forests and across tundras. Unique features of each animal’s howl allow wolves to identify each other, and now — with the help of new advances in software programs — we humans are able to distinguish individual voices, as well.

Listen to the two examples of wolf howls below. The first is a chorus howl, interspersed with barks, growls, and whines. The second is a howl from a single wolf. Whatever messages the wolves were communicating in these recordings, these “songs” are guaranteed to touch your soul — still today, as they have for millennia.

For an opportunity to hear and see wolves in the wild, take a look at our U.S. national park tours to Yellowstone and our Alaska trips.


  1. Phillip Tureck - FRGS August 22, 2013 at 8:11 am -

    It is a most wonderful sound Candice. Eerie and evocative but it gets right to your inner soul.

  2. Candice Gaukel Andrews August 22, 2013 at 8:13 am -

    It certainly does, doesn’t it, Phillip.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Lili-Ann Wolff August 22, 2013 at 8:14 am -

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful songs!

  4. Russell Osterlund August 22, 2013 at 9:06 am -

    I think all wolf-lovers should economically boycott those states and organizations that are pushing for the wolf’s elimination from the earth. In many cases these people are living off the largesse of the American public but thumbing their collective noses at what the country wants. The wolf is a necessity; they are not!

  5. Gerrit Onstein August 22, 2013 at 11:14 am -

    i heard it for over 4 times on visit in the canadian rockies, Alberta. most amazing moments that makes you feel very small and humble

  6. Alexandra Knapp August 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm -

    A lovely article and beautiful sounds. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. Jitze Hooijsma August 23, 2013 at 6:12 am -

    Still hope we will be able to listen to these voices ones…
    am curious when it will be the first time we will hear them over here in The Netherlands…
    it already looks like we had a second visitor in the last three months…

  8. Hortenzia I. Moscato August 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm -

    Great article. My dogs perked right up when I played it. So beautifully mournful very much like a violin.

  9. Chris August 26, 2013 at 6:43 am -

    Wonderful to hear, thank you for sharing! Living in South Africa, the chances that I’ll ever this “live” are limited if we allow wolves to be eliminated.

  10. Bob Johnston August 26, 2013 at 8:27 am -

    Thank you Candice – I could hear them before I clicked on the link. Jack London has always been a favorite of mine.

  11. Mauverneen Blevins August 26, 2013 at 8:28 am -

    LOVe IT!

  12. Chuck Noble August 26, 2013 at 8:30 am -

    Hope to be photographing them soon on my month in Yellowstone area.

  13. Kristen Talluto August 26, 2013 at 8:31 am -

    Couldn’t agree more. Was just at at a wolf reserve yesterday and it was an incredible experience.

  14. Sondra Sheren September 3, 2013 at 10:46 am -

    Thanks for sharing. Sounds a lot like our German Shepard.

  15. Éric Boudreau September 17, 2013 at 9:44 am -

    there is nothing like that to give you the feeling of being outdoor…

    this is nature at it’s best……

  16. Joshua Humphries September 17, 2013 at 9:45 am -

    Thanks very much for sharing these recordings Candice! So beautiful, truly one of the most beautiful natural sounds. I would really hope one day to be able to work, in conservation of these majestic animals.

  17. Mary Bradley September 17, 2013 at 9:47 am -

    Their songs are so eerily beautiful.

    Saw 4 wolves on frozen river north of Vail area while taking train from Glenwood Springs to Denver. I was elated and felt very lucky to see them

  18. Phillip Tureck - FRGS September 17, 2013 at 9:48 am -

    Wonderful experience Mary, I love seeing the wolves at the conservancy and have only seen them in the wild in Yellowstone and fleeting glimpses in Canada BC.

    There are even CD’s you can purchase with their howls accompanied by soothing music for those stressful days.

  19. Vanessa Allen September 17, 2013 at 9:49 am -

    Thanks for this, shared.

  20. Pat Mims October 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm -

    I agree we should boycott states and businesses that
    Contribute to the demise of these magnificent creatures. Truly beautiful and haunting at the same time.