MN wolf center breaks down former NFL player's claim he could take a wolf 1-on-1

One argument Arian Foster makes: He has thumbs and wolves don't.
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It started with a couple of tweets Sunday.

Former NFL player Arian Foster, now 30 years old, sent a message to his followers about how he'd do fighting wildlife (and there's some slightly NSFW language coming up, FYI):

Foster's tweet blew up, with sites like Maxim, Deadspin, CBS Sports, the L.A. Times and more writing about the running back's claims. Foster has definitely thought about this – like, a lot. And even if he's semi-joking, it's all pretty funny. He's got a few key points, including:

The fact that he has thumbs and wolves don't:

He's bigger physically:

He can study the wolf ahead of time:

And wolves don't know human biology:

He's also skeptical of some of the abilities people are giving wolves:

Sure they don't have thumbs but still, don't fight a wolf

The International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, picked up this thread and decided to address some of Foster's big arguments point by point in an email news release.

Thumbs v. no thumbs

The Wolf Center concedes that yes, wolves don't have thumbs – but they don't need them.

"Wolves use incredible upper body features and strength to take down their prey," the center writes. "Their bite is intense and crippling; they crack the bones of their prey and have powerful muscles in their neck to take down and disable animals that can be five to 10 times their size or more. This is where Arian's theory of being able to go after them by the neck would likely not work."

The size advantage

Wolves in North America usually weigh 65-130 pounds. Compare that with Foster, who while in the NFL was listed as 6-foot-1, 227 pounds. So yeah, he's bigger.

But wolves are usually smaller than their prey, the center says, and a single experienced wolf can take down a 1,000-pound bison or musk ox (though usually they hunt in packs). Foster though had argued that animals like elks are just "a walking meal," and don't have "websites, aggression, arms or thumbs."

Does a wolf know biology?

They don't read textbooks or anything, obviously. But the International Wolf Center says wolves "look for vulnerabilities" in animals they hunt, and will usually go for older or weaker prey that don't pose as much of a threat.

And what about the mental factors

"While Arian's confidence may be advantageous in intimidating a wolf, the wolf didn't get to be an apex predator by being easily intimidated," the Wolf Center said. "And as incredibly fast as Arian was on the football field, he is no match for a wolf able to run 40 miles an hour for extended periods."

The conclusions

The Wolf Center said a wild wolf probably wouldn't engage in a fight with Foster – or any human – as long as they could avoid it. They tend to avoid humans as much as possible.

"They are strong, intelligent predators that should be respected and left alone in the wild," the Wolf Center said. "We hope that Arian never comes in contact with a wild wolf, but if he does, we encourage him to admire its beauty and leave it alone for the safety of both himself, and the wolf."

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