MONTVILLE, NJ - About 75 kids enjoyed petting two wolves who visited the Montville Library last Thursday, Oct. 2. The wolves, named Samson and Takoda, helped Kymberli Morris and owner Michael Hodanish of Howling Woods Farm spread information and respect for this often-misunderstood breed of animals.
Morris presented a slide show with fun and interesting facts about wolves, including that the bite of a wolf is stronger than that of a grizzly bear. The show included sound clips of various types of howls that wolves perform for different reasons such as fear, excitement, and the need to assemble the pack. Morris showed the children how wolves differ from dogs in their teeth, chest, legs, and ears.
The two wolves that Morris and Hodanish brought to show the children had been specially trained to appear in the movie “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” starring Nicholas Cage.
“We trained them to jump across the subway platform, put their head on a pretend third rail, and open a subway turnstile,” Morris told the kids. “The only thing we couldn’t do was train them to snarl because they’re too nice! So the wolves had to wear a band around their jaw to make it look like they were baring their teeth, and the growling sounds were added in later through the magic of Hollywood.”
Howling Woods Farm accepts wolf rescues from all over the country and they feed the animals deer and elk – about 2 1/2 pounds per day. Morris told the group that no wolf has ever attacked humans unprovoked, because they’re afraid of humans.
After the presentation, Morris had the wolves display their talents. Morris threw a treat in the air and each wolf jumped about 8 feet to catch it mid-air. Then the children were invited to pet the two wolves, who are extremely tame.
Hodanish stated, “We thank the children and parents of Montville Township for providing Howling Woods Farm a grand reception. They had the opportunity to learn and observe that wolves are not the dangerous animals we have learned to fear through childhood stories and Hollywood fiction.”
The wolf presentation was one of the Montville Public Library’s many programs for kids, including Lego Builders Club on Mondays, Crafts on Wednesdays, and Bingo and Board Games on Fridays. For more information, contact the Children’s Desk at (973) 402-0900 x 224.