WHAT DOES A WOLF EAT?




The grey wolf lives in a variety of habitats, from the Arctic tundra and open steppes of Russia, to the mountainous regions and forests of the northern hemisphere. It has a highly organised social structure which enables it to enjoy the maximum cooperation when hunting, communicating, and defending its territory.

The grey wolf lives in packs of between five and ten animals. Each pack contains a family unit,consisting of a dominant male and female, and the offspring from several years. The hierarchy that exists within each pack is maintained by dominant or submissive body posturing, as well as other behavioural patterns such as the communal care of the young.

The size of the pack's territory depends on the availability of prey, but usually covers several hundred square kilometres.

The grey wolf is fiercely territorial. It scent marks boundaries and makes its presence known by howling to other members of the pack. Calls may be answered by rival wolf packs.

What do wolves eat?

The grey wolf is a big-game hunter from the dog family, hunting mostly hoofed animals. A single wolf is capable of catching and killing a deer unaided, but when hunting as a pack, it will prey on larger animals such as the moose.

Relying chiefly on its hearing and sense of smell to detect prey, the wolf will follow its target all day and night if necessary. It is not particularly fast - the wolf has a top speed of about 45 km per hour, but it does have remarkable powers of endurance which is the key to its hunting success. After a kill, each wolf - starting with high ranking individuals - will eat as much meat as it can. This can sometime be as much as one fifth of its entire body weight! What cannot be consumed is left for scavengers, even though the wolf may have to wait another three or four days before it catches its next meal.

Each member of the pack hunts, except for those too young to join in. These remain at home and wait for food to be brought to them.

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