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The members of this pack aren't anything like the wolves you've seen on Animal Planet shows. Unlike their real-world cousins, they hunt alone. (In the lunch room, they'd be the guys sitting off to one side by themselves, snapping at anyone who tries to sit next to them.) They're also usually much bigger than your average wolf. Their enormous size and fierce, solitary natures make them hated and feared wherever they roam. But we think they're just misunderstood.
The Inuit native peoples of Canada and Alaska would never hunt alone at night. Why? If they did, they worried, they might be eaten by the Amarok, a giant, solitary wolf. Even scarier? The Amarok was probably real. The Amarok legends could have started as an expression of ancient peoples' fears of the dire wolf, a five-foot-long, two-hundred pound ancestor of the modern wolf who lived during the Pleistocene Epoch. Gulp.
If you think fears of ferocious wolf-like creatures are just a superstition from a more "primitive" time, the Shunka Warak'in might change your mind. True, the legend of a canine animal that carried off dogs in the night first spread hundreds of years ago among the Ioway Native peoples of Minnesota and Iowa. But when the "Creature of McCone County" began killing livestock by the hundreds in northwestern Montana in 2006, some speculated that it might be the Shunka Warak'in live and in the flesh. When he was finally killed, he resembled no wolf scientists had ever seen. And then more creatures just like him began killing again. So what are they? Dog/wolf hybrids? Mutant wolves? Or the Shunka Warak'in? You decide.
Most legendary wolves are male (we're not sure why—it's not like females can't be fierce!). But Lupa is an exception. When the king of Alba Longa threw his nephews in the Tiber River to prevent them from ever challenging his power, Lupa found them and nursed them through infancy. It's a good thing she did: twins Romulus and Remus went on to found the city of Rome.