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Do Arctic Wolves Eat Polar Bears?

Wolves don’t eat adult polar bears, but they have been known for eating polar bear cubs. This will happen if there are no other food sources around and when the wolf has no other options but to provoke the polar bear.

Arctic wolves, like gray wolves, travel in packs. They’re apex predators in their habitat, as are polar bears. The two species will only rarely meet, because polar bears will spend most of their time near the water, while arctic wolves will establish their habitat in more remote areas.

However, there have been reports of arctic wolves attacking solitary mothers with her cubs. A pack of wolves will normally distract or attack the mother bear while other members of the pack steal the cub away, providing a decent meal for the pack while there is no other types of food around.

Do Arctic Wolves Eat Polar Bears

But these attacks are rare and they will only happen as a last resort. In addition, the two animals will not meet each other often, because they actively avoid each other and have different means of getting food.

What Does the Arctic Wolf Eat, Then?

The arctic wolf is a carnivore, and it will eat any type of prey they can find in their habitat. Primarily, they feed on caribou and musk-oxen, but also Arctic hares, lemmings, nesting birds, and other smaller animals of prey.

But when things get desperate, wolves are capable of surviving by using their food caches they might create where there’s an abundance of food. They will also use unconventional ways to survive, such as attacking dangerous animals that can harm them, such as polar bears and walruses.

During the coldest periods of the year, food gets scarce and most animals of prey hide away or leave for warmer areas of the world. This forces the arctic wolf to take desperate measures, as they might be forced to relocate and travel several miles daily to get their food.

Very rarely, arctic wolves will eat bear cubs, which might put them in danger. The polar bear is perfectly capable of fending off an entire wolf pack, even if it finds itself alone. But if the attack is successful, the polar bear might lose its cubs or might even get killed by the wolf pack.

Read More: What do Wolves Eat? (A List of Foods)

When Does an Arctic Wolf Attack Polar Bears?

There have been several reports of arctic wolves attacking polar bears when bears come off the ice onto the land, which happens in the summer. 

That’s when encounters between polar bears and arctic wolves is more common and possible, especially if the polar bear wanders into the vicinity of a wolf pack. And if the wolves are very hungry, they will have the cheek to attack the polar bear and try to go for its cubs.

There have also been reports of arctic wolves attacking adult polar bears, although they will normally target the smaller bears and cubs.

Wolves will attack the polar bear in packs, and will target the mother bear first to distract her attention away from its cubs. When they succeed with that, the other members of the wolf pack will drag the cub(s) away and eat them.

However, these events are very rare and will not happen unless the wolves get really desperate and have no other sources of food around them. They’ll also only target young, old, or weakened bears, while it’s almost impossible to see a wolf pack attack a healthy and strong bear alone.

Go Deeper: Do Wolves Eat their Prey Alive?

Do Polar Bears Eat Wolves?

So, how about the opposite, then? Do polar bears attack arctic wolves and eat them?

Like arctic wolves attacking bears, this instance is extremely rare. It’s a bit more common for arctic wolves to eat polar bears, and the opposite will almost never happen.

However, a single polar bear is strong and resourceful enough to fend off a wolf attack. They have a stronger sense of smell and are larger than wolves, so they will try to scare them away with their presence and their larger posture.

But polar bears will usually avoid arctic wolves at all costs. They are able to sniff them out from miles away, giving them a good idea of its surroundings and where arctic wolf packs might be located. This gives them a slight edge over arctic wolves, because polar bears have a stronger sense of smell.

Read Also: Do Wolves Hunt Horses?

Do Arctic Wolves Attack Humans?

Yes, arctic wolves are one of the most aggressive species in the world, and will not hesitate to attack a human being, especially if a wolf pack finds itself near one.

So if you do find yourself in the Arctic surroundings by any stretch of imagination, it’s best to steer clear from wolves. But these encounters will be almost impossible if you don’t venture into that area.

Also, there have been some reports of arctic wolves approaching humans in a friendly manner. They are lonely most of the time, so they might appreciate company, even if it’s human company. But this will only happen when the wolf doesn’t feel provoked and if it’s properly fed.

Overall, arctic wolves will attack humans more often than most other types of wolves. It’s a very well-known fact that arctic wolves are far more aggressive than other types of wolves, which will actively look to avoid contact with humans. Arctic wolves, on the other hand, are not so shy – they will be even more aggressive if they haven’t eaten in a while!

Read Also: What Animals Eat Wolves?


To conclude, arctic wolves don’t primarily feed on polar bears, but there have been some reports of attacks on polar bears where the wolves will especially target younger bears and those that can’t fight back.

When they do attack polar bears, they will only do so in packs. A part of the pack will try to distract the mother’s attention away from the cub, which allows the opportunity for the other wolves in the pack to grab the cubs and get themselves a good meal.

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