Q:

What do arctic wolves eat?

A:

Arctic wolves eat a carnivorous diet of mammals and nesting birds. Their preferred prey include seals, foxes, Arctic hares, caribou and musk oxen. When necessary, Arctic wolves also eat birds, salmon, lemmings, rodents and other small mammals.

Arctic wolves are a subspecies of gray wolf native to northern Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Their diet is limited because of the extremely cold conditions in which these wolves thrive. Other types of gray wolf live in warmer areas and have access to a wider variety of prey. For example, gray wolves living in lower Alaska, Canada and the northern United States frequently consume moose, deer, elk, caribou, rabbits, beavers and rodents. All gray wolves, including Arctic wolves, readily scavenge dead animals when they cannot find live prey. In such circumstances, the wolves eat almost any dead animal, including large birds of prey, bears, wildcats and ungulates.

Fish is not a staple in the diet of Arctic wolves or any type of gray wolf. However, research performed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game indicates that the wolves do eat salmon. Unlike bears, wolves are not gifted anglers and sometimes spend several hours in pursuit of salmon. They prefer to fish at low tide.


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