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The Science of Lycanthropy

Werewolf Sociology

By Hugo Pecos & Robert Lomax

Return to Werewolf Biology

Unlike vampires and zombies, werewolves are largely solitary creatures. During the transformative process, they will tirelessly relocate to a remote region of wilderness and set about creating a well-hidden shelter. However, they will occasionally commune with other werewolves and are even capable of sexual procreation. Most of what we know about them has been gleaned from eyewitness accounts, post-mortem examination and the excavation of burrows. As a result, the data on werewolves is small—too small to reach statistical significance.


The Newly-Transformed

Over the first few weeks of a werewolf's life, it will move far away from human population centers, traveling under the cover of night to avoid detection. They will bound down alleys, lope over rooftops and even hang on to the undersides of trucks. Early-stage werewolves can be hundreds of miles from their hometowns in a matter of days. They are very assured in their actions and do not exhibit the stress and discomfort often seen in newly-transformed vampires.


Dwellings & Dietary Habits

A werewolf den in Georgia; 1944
Newly-transformed werewolves will live in temporary shelters until they find a place suitable for a permanent abode. Far from populated areas, they prefer heavily-wooded hillsides facing towards the world's equator. Rocky outcroppings with small caves are the most ideal for them. They will even drive bears from dens that they covet.

Werewolf dens are snug—typically 10 to 12 feet long and a few feet high. They keep a clean, simple home, with bedding from plant materials, feathers and down. Although their coat thickens in response to cold weather, they can and will skin animals for blankets.

Interestingly, werewolves often hold on to items that meant something to them during their human existence: pictures, jewelry, souvenirs, clothing, books, etc. But for the most part, their living standards are closer to those of their wolf cousins than of humans.

The back feet and front paws of a werewolf are about double
the size of their former human appendages.
They also tend to be larger than bear tracks,
with the digits arranged in a more pronounced arc.
Werewolves take great efforts to camouflage their presence in the wild, as they will cover the opening of their dens with boulders and brush and use their tremendous digging ability to carve out exit tunnels. Outside the den they urinate on bushes and trees to mark their territory and will bury their excrement. They've even been known to cover their tracks.

Like most humans, werewolves are quite attentive to their hygiene: they enjoy frequent baths in lakes and rivers, and will even rake their claws through their fur like a comb. They also chew certain plants to create crude poultices for wounds they receive taking down large prey.

Because of their remarkable intelligence and adaptability compared to common animals, werewolves can survive virtually anywhere, from the coldest polar regions to the hottest tropical rainforests. A single werewolf's home range is typically several hundred square miles. Being omnivorous, they spend much of their time hunting and foraging, eating anything and everything from berries and plants to fish, rodents and even large ungulates such as elk and moose.

As with bears, werewolves can fatten up and hibernate for up to several months without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating. Unlike vampires and zombies, however, werewolves cannot survive being frozen.


Human Attacks

Like other large predators, werewolves don't appear to have a taste for humans. The attacks that do occur are extremely rare, and evidence suggests that they are a matter of territory rather than hunger.

That is not to say that werewolves never hunt humans: the Beast of Gévaudan killed more than 80 people in 1760s France, and a series of werewolf attacks on fishing camps and small towns in Wisconsin during the 1920s resulted in 23 deaths. The latter wolfman was killed by a team of FVZA agents, and the subsequent autopsy revealed a viral infection in its brain, suggesting that it may have been suffering from derangement. Werewolf attacks on humans are also associated with droughts and other situations that might put the beasts under stress. However, this is not a common phenomenon, considering their adaptability.

Although werewolves are highly territorial and easily threatened, their resulting behavior is largely situational. For instance, a single hiker blundering into their range might be shadowed for a while and then left alone, while a party of armed hunters is far more likely to incite their wrath. If you wish to avoid becoming prey, do not travel in deep woods during the sunrise and sunset hours. Firearms will just agitate the wolfman and are not going to be of much help if it attacks. But rest assured: werewolf attacks are extremely rare, and should not dissuade anyone from enjoying recreational activities such as camping and hunting.


Social Dynamics

Because werewolves are much rarer than zombies and vampires, it is unusual to see one—much less two—in a given expanse of wilderness. Still, it does happen. If two males end up crossing paths, they will get into a vicious and bloody duel, and the battered loser will be forced to relocate to a new range.

Photograph of a werewolf that had broken into
a Canadian couple's cabin
Females tend to behave quite differently, as they don't seem to mind sharing the same land, and will sometimes even work together in the absence of a male.

Male and female werewolves get along especially well: once contact is made, they will spend the next several days together, hunting, frolicking and mating. Once the female is pregnant, however, the male usually leaves. Still, long-term bonds aren't unheard of.

After a nine-month gestation, the female will give birth to a single pup. Though pink, hairless and only a pound or so at birth, the pup grows quickly, reaching adult size in just two years. It will accompany its mother until then, before being expelled into the wild to survive on its own. For reasons not entirely clear, a female werewolf can only give birth once in her lifetime.

At adulthood, the differences between born werewolves and turned werewolves are very subtle: the latter seem to have more stretch marks on their epidermis, and a more jagged shape to their growth plates. Still, it's far from an exact science. A more obvious way to tell is if the werewolf has tattoos, piercings, surgical scars or a missing foreskin.


Demographics, Life Expectancy & Population

The remains of werewolf killed in a
mudslide in southern California; 1986
Most werewolves are in the 15 to 45 age group upon transformation. Regardless of their former human age, it seems to have no bearing on their lifespan as a werewolf. However, they still do age on a molecular/genetic level, albeit to a slower degree than humans. While the outer limits of their natural lifespan are currently unknown, the most documented cause of death among werewolves is infection, usually from wounds sustained from large prey items. Predation from hunters is rare, and they've never been known to get cancer.

A dessicated werewolf carcass in Alaska

Despite their aging and vulnerability to injury and microbes, werewolves survive much longer, on average, than vampires and zombies. It's believed that one werewolf has been living in the Black Forest of Europe for more than 200 years, based on tracks and scat analysis.

As for population, the number of werewolves in existence is probably less than 1000 worldwide, as development has encroached significantly on their habitat. Werewolf distribution is closely linked with that of their wolf cousins, and are predominantly found across North America, Europe and Asia. Canada is likely home to the largest number.

Global distribution of werewolf habitats, marked in green


Captivity

Werewolves were typically kept in large bear cages.
As mentioned before, werewolves that are placed in captivity always die within a week of capture. The reasons for this are poorly understood, but it seems to be a case of behavioral changes leading to a state of physical decline. Refusing to eat or sleep, they will become highly stressed as they try desperately to break free from their confines, causing an enormous release of adrenaline that forces their metabolism to go into overdrive. Unable and unwilling to meet the nutritional demands required to combat the rapid starvation caused by this, the werewolf becomes lethargic as it ages rapidly. Circulatory decline and organ failure occur shortly after. Attempts have been made to try to keep werewolves alive by sedating them and inserting a feeding tube, but even the highest dosages have little effect on their will to die.

Early-stage LPV victims tend to last somewhat longer in captivity, but only by a week or so—as proven by the Soviets in their attempts to create more werewolves.

Continue to Werewolf Mythology
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