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Full Wolf Moon
January 25, 2021

Will the wolves be howling at the moon?

If you look to the sky on Jan. 28, you will see the first full moon of 2021. The full moon in January is traditionally known as the “Full Wolf Moon.”

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the names for full moons come from a number of places, including Native American groups, colonial Americans or other traditional North American names passed down through generations.

The name of the January moon is derived from wolves, which tend to howl more often in the winter months. It was thought the wolves howled due to their hunger; however, there’s no evidence for this.

So why do wolves howl? To find their pack members and communicate with them in many different ways, bond them, and to defend their territory, says Haley Withers, lead carnivore keeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.

“As a child you hear tales that wolves howl at the moon,” says Withers. “Truth is, nobody knows if they are actually howling at the moon. But they are nocturnal creatures, meaning they’re active and awake at night, and they do raise their heads when they howl. It helps carry the sound further.”

gray wolf howling
Gray wolf howls in January at Northwest Trek.

Withers says the three gray wolves at Northwest Trek often howl, helping to bond the pack and sometimes just for play. As for whether they plan to howl at the full moon, that’s anyone’s guess.