What do wolves eat?

By | June 30, 2018

Wolves are predatory animals and belong to the Canid group which also consists of foxes, and coyotes; the wolves happen to be the largest in the group. They are primarily carnivores, and in essence, meat is their primary source of nutrition. There are two groups of wolves, the grey wolf or Canis Lupus is the predominant species and is easily found on most continents across the world whereas its smaller cousin, the red wolf is generally found in the southeastern United States. And when it comes to weight, an average male weighs about 120 pounds whereas the median weight for the female of the species happens to be around 80 pounds. It is this weight coupled with a powerful bite force of 1500 pounds per square inch that makes the wolf a dangerous animal indeed. Here’s a closer look at their diet and their hunting patterns.

what do wolves eat

  • Meat: With a bite force that’s near twice as powerful as that of a German Shepard dog, they are perfectly outfitted to hunt other animals down effectively. They usually target several species including all forms of hoofed animals from deer, elk, and caribou to Bison and others. And it should also be pointed out that wolves generally target the weakest of the lot since that would mean that they would not have to expend excess energy on hunting it down. Wolves can be quite ruthless in the way the target a particular prey, either selecting the youngest or the oldest and therefore the weakest. Often, they are known to track their prey for several miles before bringing it down. But wolves are also known to scavenge so any fresh meat that’s readily available is wolfed down, right away – no pun intended.


  • Pack hunting: Usually wolves travel in packs and hunt as one; each pack will have an alpha male and an alpha female and usually these two lead the hunt. And generally, they hunt as a pack to bring down animals several times their own size; usually, their hunting ground varies in both size and terrain. What is remarkable is the adaptability of this species to the terrain and the environment, more so that they modify their hunting behaviour accordingly.


  • Fishing: It may be hard to accept this at face value but most wolves prefer fishing over hunting, mainly salmon since they do not have to expend much energy to fish. Moreover, when it comes to hunting there are chances that some of the big game could fight back and they could get hurt in the process. This is why wolves love to fish for salmon, as it is a readily available source of nutrition with less chance of being hurt fatally.

Also read: What do hamsters eat?

This should tell you all you need to know about the various species of wolves, their main diet and the process through which they acquire the same. It should also be pointed out that wolves show remarkable intellectual acuity to the point that they are almost human alike when it comes to strategy.

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