A to Z Challenge – O for Omega

Hi all,

wolvesWell, it’s a new week and the month is just speeding by! Today we’re on the letter O and I must admit this is one I scratched my head a bit over. We have touched on wolf hierarchy earlier in the month, with the alpha male and female at the top. Under the alphas will be the betas – the seconds in command. Wolves at these level may be strong backup for the alpha, or they may try and challenge for leadership (this is going to come up a bit more in book 2 of my wolves series!). But underneath the beta, on the bottom rung of the hierarchy is the omega wolf.

omegaThe omega wolf is generally the last to feed at a pack kill, they are submissive to all in the pack, often receiving constant nips, bites and attacks by other pack members. They are the scapegoat for all that goes wrong, and it would appear to be a rather miserable life for them. However, the omega is seen to play an important role in the pack. They act as a kind of social glue, allowing the pack members to vent frustration without starting actual full-on fights which could threaten the pack structure and security. The omega is always often the ‘joker’ of the pack, trying to get the other members to play or generally clowning around – again as a means to release pent-up tension.

There are two ways out for the omega wolf. They can fight their way up to a stronger and more respected position in the pack, or they can leave altogether and strike out as a ‘lone wolf’. It has actually been observed that packs who have lost their omega can sometimes enter in a period of mourning, where the entire pack stops hunting and lies around looking miserable.

images1When writing about wolves I was considering whether to include an omega or not. Although it is often a part of actual wolf hierarchy, I must admit I thought it seemed a little cruel. Nature is often is cruel but I had to think that would my wolves with their added human element still participate in something like that? In the end I decided not to have it, one of the many things you need to think about when researching this kind of world!

Take care x