Q:

What is in the food chain of the red wolf?

A:

Red wolves are predatory canines that primarily hunt deer, rodents and rabbits. However, the wolves are extremely opportunistic, and they will eat whatever prey they can find, including raccoons, pigs, nutria and muskrats. Red wolves have few predators as adults, and they fear only humans and other canines, such as other types of wolves and coyotes.

Red wolves often hunt in packs to capture large prey, such as deer. Packs usually consist of a mated pair and their offspring, but larger packs have been documented. Packs tend to hunt within a small portion of their home range for about seven to 10 days. At the end of this time, the pack moves to another area within their range and begins hunting again. Wolves often catch smaller prey while they are foraging alone.

Young red wolves are at risk to a variety of predators, including large birds of prey, alligators, mountain lions and bobcats. Additionally, other canines may kill and eat red wolves, whether they are young or mature. Humans do not typically eat wolves, but they have killed countless thousands in the name of protecting their livestock. However, red wolves only rarely consume livestock, and their rodent-eating habits help to reduce local rat populations.

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