Audio Tales: Listen to the Howls of Wolves

Candice Gaukel Andrews August 22, 2013 20

Gray wolf howls can carry for miles, and sometimes a lone wolf will howl to find fellow pack members. ©National Park Service

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.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,


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

    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.

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

    Thanks for this, shared.

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

    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.

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

    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

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

    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.

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

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

    this is nature at it’s best……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    LOVe IT!

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

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

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

    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.

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

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

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

    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…

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

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

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

    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

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

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful songs!

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

    It certainly does, doesn’t it, Phillip.

    Thanks for the comment.

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

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

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

    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!

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