Some scientists believe that wolves track large prey more by sound than by smell. The wolf's range of hearing, coupled with its keen powers of auditory discrimination, make hearing its most powerful sense. Research has shown that wolves can hear sounds up to a high frequency of twenty-six kilohertz, well beyond human hearing and close to the range of bats. Their ability to detect these high-pitched sounds lets wolves locate small prey such as rodents, even under snow packs, by sounding out their high-pitched squeals. Wolves can hear and identify a fellow wolf's howls from a distance of more than four miles. The wolf's highly sensitive hearing, with its equally developed sense of smell, make up the two most important tools to the survival of the wolf species. It's this same finely tuned auditory sense that lets your dog hear thunder from miles away (ever see him hide under a bed long before a storm struck?), bark protectively at an outdoor sound you can't hear at all, or pick up another dog's low growl that is undetectable to you. It's also this keen sense of hearing that makes your dog a valuable protector of your home.
From DOGSPEAK by Bashkim Dibra. Copyright © 1999 by Bashkim Dibra. Reprinted with permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.