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What Do Wolves Eat? Learn About Their Feeding and Hunting Habits

Wolves eat hoofed foot mammals like deer, elk, or moose. They also eat rabbits, raccoons, hares, beavers, mice, fish, and rodents when they can’t find bigger prey. Sometimes bigger prey can be scarce, so they use smaller animals for survival. However, wolves experience a generous hunting period in winter and early summer.

Are Wolves Omnivorous Or Carnivorous?

Wolves are carnivorous, as their primary food is animal meat. Although they eat fruits sometimes, this wild animal prefers animal meat. They only ever consider fruits like wild berries when meat is very scarce or to change their diet.

What Do Wolves Eat? List of Animals That Wolves Prey On

Animals wolves eat include:

  • Bison.
  • Deer.
  • Elk.
  • Caribou.
  • Bighorn sheep.
  • Hares.
  • Rabbits.
  • Moose.
  • Raccoons.
  • Lizards.
  • Snakes.
  • Wild turkey.
  • Wild boar.
  • Fishes.
  • Beavers.
  • Rodents.
  • Birds.
  • Waterfowl.

Wolves also eat plants and fruits out of scarcity. Their favorite fruits include nightshade, lily of the valley, berries, cherries, apples, figs, melon, and pears.

Wolves hunting bison

Also read: What Eats Wolves? Top 4 Wolf Predators

How Do Wolves Hunt and Eat?

Typically, wolves start their hunt by first locating their prey which is usually the weakest member of a group of animals like an injured, sick, old, or young one.

Then they start stalking their victim until it decides to run from its group, where they use their speed and pack members to hunt it down. The wolves eat the meat according to their hierarchical position in their pack.

Do Wolves Hunt At Night?

Yes, wolves hunt at night. A pack of wolves can travel many kilometers at night searching for prey big enough to feed themselves. The wolves heightened hearing, smelling, and good night vision allow them to hunt successfully at night. They sleep most time of the day but not throughout.

How Often Do Wolves Eat?

Wolves eat whenever they find food. They can eat about 10-20 pounds of meat if lucky with a catch. Such food would be enough for a while until their next big catch. So they don’t eat every day and can stay for 2 weeks without food. This means wolves eat as often as it is available.

Where Do Wolves Eat?

Wolves eat where they hunt and kill their prey. These animals can travel kilometers to hunt and eat meat where they find it. Adult wolves return to their den and regurgitate swallowed food to provide for their pups. If they don’t eat the food after hunting, they won’t need to regurgitate.

Wolf eating a bird

Also read: Are Wolves Dangerous? Will They Actually Attack Humans?

How Much Do Wolves Eat?

Wolves eat about 9-10 pounds of meat daily on average. However, 3-4 pounds of meat can keep a wolf going when there is a scarcity of meat. Sometimes they can go from several days to 2 weeks without eating, and when meat is available, they eat enough to carry them for a while.

Are Wolves Scavengers?

Wolves are carnivorous animals and not scavengers. However, to survive the harsh condition of the wild, this animal hunts whenever the opportunity arises and can act like a scavenger.

Sometimes there is limited food in the wild, and wolves must scavenge for sustenance. In some cases, wolves scavenge and steal from other wild animals, usually resulting in a fight.

Do Wolves Eat Plants?

Yes, wolves occasionally eat plants. Wolves prefer to eat animal meat because they are carnivorous. They only eat plants when animal meat is scarce and they need sustenance. As canines, they learn to adapt their diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Wolves Eat Beavers?

Wolves eat beavers when it is available. In northern Minnesota, researchers discovered that wolves get 42% of their food from beavers. Beavers are easier targets than most animals during the bountiful period and are a well-preferred choice.

When their meat source becomes scarce, wolves must survive by going after any available food source. Even if it isn’t their best meat, wolves eat it to stay alive.

Do Wolves Eat Squirrels?

Yes, wolves eat squirrels. Although wolves’ diets include deer, bison, elk, and other ungulates, they also eat squirrels, mice, grouse, rabbits, and any small animal they can find.

As an opportunist predator, what a wolf eats depends on availability. So if a squirrel is available, the wolf would eat it without hesitation.

Do Wolves Eat Fish?

Yes, wolves eat fish. As opportunist predators, wolves would go for fish when other animals are unavailable. So if eating fish for a while would keep wolves alive, they would go for it.

In Alaska, for example, research shows that when caribou move towards the north, wolves shift their focus to available smaller animals like fish.

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