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Do Wolves Hunt at Night?

During the warmer parts of the year, wolves hunt almost exclusively at dusk and at night. They have strong eyesight and their hearing and smelling abilities give them the edge over other animals that roam at night.

Do Wolves Hunt at Night

When wolves hunt at night, they gather in groups or packs, which gives them better cover and advantage over other mammals. When they hunt in groups, they’ll target larger ungulates like elk and caribou, while they’ll go after deer and smaller mammals like rabbits in warmer parts of the world.

It’s also during the night that wolves communicate more strongly than they do during the day. When the sun comes out, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll hear a wolf howling, while that’s pretty common during the night.

That’s when the alpha of the pack is giving the orders to its group, which allows them to cooperate better and be more efficient when hunting at night.

How Do Wolves Hunt at Night?

wolf eating

Wolves are very effective hunters when it’s dark, which is enhanced by their strong senses and eyes, as well as their ability to move swiftly in packs.

They’re able to see when it’s dark thanks to a special layer in their eyes called Tapetum lucidum. This layer will “translate” the darkness into visible light, although it’s been estimated that wolves can’t see colors at night, and their vision also gets slightly blurry.

Because of that, they’ll have to use other senses to locate the animals they’ll hunt. When they can’t see properly, they’ll rely on smell and their strong hearing in order to find the prey. They’re able to smell other animals from several miles away.

When dusk settles, wolves will get together with their pack and start roaming their territory at the behest of their alpha male. This wolf is the leader of the pack, and it calls shots as to where the pack will go next, and it will also control the attacks on other animals that are found outside during the night.

This gives them an advantage over other predators and animals of prey because they’re able to cover more ground when they travel in packs. This means they’ll sweep a larger piece of area around them, and they’ll also work together to catch any other animals that are trying to run away from them, especially larger ungulates.

They have a special technique of hunting where they prefer to let their prey out into an open area, where they would run it down and bite it at its hamstrings, which can cripple the prey enough to stop. However, some ungulates are faster than wolves so they can outrun them.

Read Also: Are Wolves Nocturnal or Diurnal

What Time of Day Do Wolves Come Out?

wolf

Wolves are at their most active between dusk and dawn, and they’ll spend most of their time outside during the summer, spring, and fall.

This will comprise most of its activity during the summer and the warmer parts of the year. During the winter, however, wolves will not be as active at night because they will conserve their energy and be more active during the day instead.

Even though they’re more active at night when they hunt, wolves will remain active for the rest of the day, too. They can be active during the day although they’ll not hunt during the day as they don’t want to expose themselves, especially in the areas that are closer to cities and towns.

When the sunrise is drawing close, wolves return to their dens to take a rest and prepare to hunt for the next night. If the pups are close to them and they need attention, they’ll remain active during the day, too. Although they won’t be as active as they are at night.

Read Also: How do Wolves Sleep?

How Often Do Wolves Hunt?

A pack of wolves eating together

Wolves will hunt whenever the opportunity shows itself to them, which means that they go through periods of feast and famine.

It is well-known that wolves are able to survive even if they go several days without food, which will inevitably happen, especially during the winter. This might force them to relocate to a new location when the food is aplenty.

Normally though, wolves will consume around 10 pounds of meat per day when there is a constant source of food around them, and that number can go even higher if they haven’t eaten for several days.

They’re also very adept at making food reserves for themselves, as they will eat voraciously when they get really hungry, which allows them then to stay a few days without food and still easily survive. They’re highly resourceful, which enables them to survive, and won’t say no to an easy catch such as a small rodent or smaller mammals.

This sporadic nature of their hunting makes them unpredictable hunters. They might go several days without hunting, and then they will hunt for a few days in a row to make back all that they’ve lost during those days when they didn’t.

Why Do Wolves Hunt at Night?

grey wolf

Wolves are very adept at seeing in the dark, which gives them an edge over some other animals that don’t have such strong eyesight at night.

And when they combine their strong eyesight with their other powerful senses such as smell and hearing, they are very good at finding the right opportunities to hunt at night. This means that they might have to travel several miles per night just to find something to eat, which is crucial if they are going through a period of famine.

Wolves can see pretty well in the dark thanks to tapetum lucidum (which gives them yellow eyes). They’re among the animals that can see best at night, and their eyesight at night is only surpassed by a few other animals such as owls or wild cats.

Final Thoughts

Wolves do most of their hunting at night when they use their strong senses to have an edge over their prey. Even though they’re strong predators, they will go through periods of feast or famine, which is especially typical during winter when most other animals move to warmer areas.

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