Wolf Moon

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The full Wolf Moon rises on Thursday,January 28, 2021.

January’s full Wolf Moon reaches peak illumination on Thursday, January 28, at 2:18 P.M. EST. However, the Moon won’t be visible until it rises above the horizon around sunset that evening.

The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not just to the full Moon itself.

It’s thought that January’s full Moon came to be known as the Wolf Moon because wolves were more often heard howling at this time. It was traditionally believed that wolves howled due to hunger during winter, but we know today that wolves howl for other reasons. Howling and other wolf vocalizations are generally used to define territory, locate pack members, reinforce social bonds, and coordinate hunting.

So it’s actually a myth that wolves howl at the moon! Howling may be heard at night, but it is not a behavior directed at the moon. Instead, it is used as a social rally call, a hail to hunt or as a territorial expression. A howl can even help a lost wolf find its way home.

During the denning season in spring and early summer, wolves only howl to pack mates. As the late summer moves toward fall, wolves call more and more to neighbors and enemies. While an average howl from a single wolf lasts from 3 to 7 seconds, a chorus by a pack can last from 30 to 120 seconds and longer during the breeding season in February.

So wolves are particularly loud and vocal in the first months of the year, which is probably why people associate the month of January with howling wolves.

(sources: Farmers Almanac, Time & Date, Science Today, Today.com, Wolf Wisdom)

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