News on a much-debated topic: Do wolves kill people?

From what I can recall from my childhood, and a brief stint of living in Montana as an adult, the usual issue folks have with wolves is not that they kill people… most folks living in that region of the country figure if you’re able to be killed by wolves, than the species is better off without you.

The issue is that they believe wolves kill livestock. Which is true, to a very very small extent.

Also, their continued existence gives continual fodder to Wolf Shirts, which is just bad.

I think that overstates the probability. There have been two cases in 60 years in the entire continent of North America. I actually think you can dismiss the danger, at least as far as wild wolves go, or if you don’t, then you also have to remain cautious of other extremely rare causes of death.

Thank you.

It baffles me that this is still debated. Wolf attacks on humans are exceedingly rare, with almost no trustworthy documentation to prove that they have ever happened with remotely any regularity.

Honestly, if you’re in the wild, you’d be in far greater danger from encountering a random human than from encountering a random wolf. And this has been basically true for all of human history.

Among carnivores and other dangerous animals, wolves’ danger to humans is way down the list.

There are no domesticated wolves. There are wolf-dog hybrids which can be incredibly dangerous because too often they have the aggression of dogs and the strength of wolves. If they are raised as pets, the owners leave themselves exposed.

Wolves retain their wild nature and instincts even when brought up in captivity. They are not afraid of human beings. Neither are they interested in killing and eating us. They are interested in maintaining dominance. If you run into one on your way to Grandma’s, avoid eye contact, put your tail between your legs and leave.

Intellectual laziness. Repeated in every thread.

That’s what will tend to make Dopers more than a little snarky.

Wolves don’t even kill as much livestock as they are often blamed for, it’s an excuse for ranchers to kill them.

And Wolf shirts are cool.

Maybe Monsters of the Gévaudan by Jay Smith, about the mystery of the beast of Gévaudan ? I recall reading a review in the LRB some time ago.

I think this all about the disparity between peoples perception of the danger of wolves versus the reality. Wolves make themselves known through vocalization, and people hear this and inflate the danger. Most predators are silent, and the bear you don’t see or hear may be more dangerous than the wolf that you do, but you are not receiving any cues that stoke the fear of bears. Besides being social animals and communicating, wolves may also use vocalization to drive prey to flee to the point of exhaustion. The wolves have much greater stamina than most of their prey, and have an easier time taking down large prey after running them down. So over time, humans have had their fear of wolves culturally enhanced, and reinforced by their own senses, even if they know of no particular attack.

Well, we should note that snark-masters can be every bit as intellectually lazy as their targets. I once got a rather sarcastic version of Socratic method directed my way by an SD Science Advisory Board member regarding a quickly-written opinion he apparently found in need of tightening up, a complaint not entirely without merit, considered objectively.

The problem was that two core premises he assumed to question my statement were themselves completely false factually, which he might have determined easily by checking basic newspaper accounts of the issue. I’ve also been accused of a type of logic fault that upon my investigation almost certainly would not apply in the example criticized. I doubt my interlocutor had any deep expertise in logic, despite his breezy confidence that he did. Most human beings claim more authority than they actually possess. I’ll take snarky criticism more seriously when purveyors make zero such errors themselves.

No, SD snarkiness often goes further than an honest impatience for any intellectual laziness. I would characterize many expressions of it as intolerance for the intellectual failings of others, real, arguable, or imagined, and it’s an Internet-wide problem. In fact, you generally find more useful commentary on SD than most other sites, though, without mods it would often degenerate quickly. I’m about to post something prominently that I expect to be skinned for, but that goes with the game. It’s interesting to see what human nature in the raw would make of social relations without the “rules” of manners that apply face-to-face—a courtesy taught by centuries of swordsmanship as much as by reasoned advice from Miss Manners, I’ll wager.

Yes, I know wolves only very rarely attack people—fortunately, since a friend, his young son, and I once found ourselves staring at three of them on the side of a mountain one very early morning, unarmed except for a camera with one shot left, which we forgot to use. They satisfied their curiosity, spread out, and moved off, heads low to the ground, weaving back and forth sniffing as they went. Taking one look at this movement, you wouldn’t mistake them for dogs for long, as I did when they originally popped up among boulders 50 yards distant.

The point is that it’s worth noting when an unusual event of wolf-human predation occurs.

I love you.

I thought here on the SDMB it was all done in fun. Now I’m really disappointed. But I didn’t notice a lot of intolerance.

I had a wolf encounter here in the wilds of Iowa once. Okay, not wilds, a rural farm actually, and he trotted across a paddock about 50 yards away from me. He watched me carefully but seemed to be on a mission. Although I wasn’t attacked so unfortunately cannot be a statistic for the purposes of this thread it was an odd feeling to be gazed at by a predator.

[QUOTE=Noodles Fellicini;14552710unfortunately cannot be a statistic for the purposes of this thread it was an odd feeling to be gazed at by a predator.[/QUOTE]

If Skald had posted that, I would say, “too bad”, but since it is you, I will say, “Cool!”
:slight_smile:

I might point out that the link goes directly to the part of the article entitled “List of fatal wolf attacks”. And the chart from 2000-present lists 12 attacks (with a total of 21 people in those 12 attacks). Finding this information took me maybe 45 seconds, not 45 minutes.

Thank you. That was the very reason I got a little snarky. I didn’t just link to the start of the article, I linked directly to the relevant section. For Opal to look at that and then still ask her question made me want to bang my head against the desk.

Her subsequent post calling me her mom did make me laugh, though I doubt that was the reaction she intended.

I know I giggled. It reminded me of my mom telling me to go look something up in the dictionary/encyclopedia as a kid. In hindsight I appreciate it, but at the time it often annoyed me. We were also a household that played a lot of Trivial Pursuit. And on one memorable occasion of Scrabble, my dad challenged one of my mom’s words in the dictionary, he was being snarky, and she [del]threw[/del] tossed the dictionary at him. Good times.

Wasn’t it fun to look up your own information? My intellectual curiosity was nurtured by not having answers just handed to me. I know I got a big kick out of learning how to answer my own questions using things like encyclopedias and dictionaries, and now, the Internet.

Yeah, generally I enjoyed it, it was just annoying sometimes. And the internet - what did we do before Google and smartphones? Probably 75% of the time I have dinner at my parents house, there’s something that’s brought up in conversation and at least one of us ends up going to the Internet for more information.

And now I’m a total research nerd. I went back to school a couple years ago to study nursing, and when I have a paper to write I’m notorious for procrastinating by spending ten times as much time as I need to doing research, reading random interesting articles, etc… I love looking shit up and finding out new stuff. Obligatory xkcd link: http://xkcd.com/214/

Anyways, enough with the hijack. Although I guess the OP has been pretty much answered.

Before the Internet, my parents had encyclopedias. I’d also go to the library. I never thought that reading something for myself was traumatic.