Wolves are apex predators, which means they don’t have any natural predators. However, some animals might take advantage of wolf pups and older wolves, such as tigers, grizzly bears, and scavengers.
There have also been some reports of cannibalism with wolves, but that has been disproven by many zoologists and scientists.
The list of animals that eat wolves is very short, which just goes to show that they’re truly the kings of their habitat. Adult wolves won’t have natural enemies and won’t get eaten by another animal.
Wolves are Apex Predators
Wolves are truly the kings of their habitat.
They’re apex predators – the definition of an apex predator is that they’re the animals that control the habitat and the other animals in their habitats. They’re the ones that will thin out the excessive populations of ungulates such as deer or caribou.
Apex predators are known for being hard to kill. Wolves are simply too strong and also too fierce for other animals to attack, so they will leave wolves alone and won’t hunt them down. Even the larger animals like bears will avoid hunting down wolves.
What is more, wolves will travel around in packs, which makes them even more powerful. This makes them stronger and more effective when attacking larger animals such as ungulates, or when they come up against a potential threat in nature such as a bear.
A lone wolf will also be perfectly capable of surviving and fending for itself if it comes to it. While it might be a bit more exposed as it is when it is in its pack, a lone wolf will still have enough strength and aggression to scare off other animals and potential predators, because they’re the strongest (or one of the strongest) animals in its habitat.
Combine all of that, and you get the full picture that wolves don’t have many natural predators.
There are Some Animals that Can Threaten Wolves
In some habitats, wolves might be threatened and their territories will be challenged by other apex predators, such as:
- Bears and polar bears
- Tigers (rarely in the same habitat)
But these animals won’t attack and kill wolves on their own. Instead, they will look to avoid them whenever possible, as a confrontation between the two species can be bad for either of the two.
Those apex predators will have more power against older wolves and especially wolf pups.
If a wolf pup is left on its own and if it’s too small to care for itself, then other predators might come and kill it or take it. If the pups are exposed, then larger animals will hunt them and kill them, or eat them if there’s a real shortage of food in the habitat.
This will not happen very often, though. Wolf pups will almost always have elders around them, which will protect them and keep them safe from such threats.
Also, most wolf pups that get left alone are already large and strong enough to fend off attacks and run away from potential predators, even if they get left alone.
Scavengers, on the other hand, are opportunists. They are not active hunters in their own right, but they’ll rather wait for their opportunity to kill the weakened prey or the elderly wolves. Scavengers will only go after those wolves who can’t move or can’t defend themselves, or simply eat the dead wolves or those who are close to dying.
Read More: Can Wolves Smell Fear?
What Animals Can Kill Wolves?
There are some animals in their habitats that can kill wolves on their own if it comes down to a confrontation, such as tigers and cougars. However, these confrontations don’t happen very often because these animals don’t often live in the same habitats, but they’ll also actively avoid confronting each other.
Both tigers and cougars are also territorial animals, which means they’ll do everything they can to protect their territory against potential attacks from wolves.
Also, a tiger or a cougar might only be able to kill a lone wolf, but it won’t do much harm to a wolf that’s in a pack. Instead, they will avoid wolf packs and hide from them, because the packs have enough power to kill cougars.
Bears and polar bears in particular, have the capacity to kill a wolf, too. As you might already know, female bears are much more aggressive, especially if they have a baby bear near them that they need to protect.
If a wolf comes up against a bear pup and tries to snatch it from the mother, it might not end well for the wolf.
Do Wolves Eat Each Other?
While cannibalism among wolves is possible, it is not very common and will only happen if there are really no other choices when it comes to food.
Many wolf observers will tell you that this is not going to happen often in nature, though. Wolves do not belong among those animals who will actively look to kill another specimen from their species and eat it.
However, there have also been some reports of wolf cannibalism in nature, especially when there is a true shortage of food. This will only happen if wolves kill each other because of territorial disputes, however, and they will likely not go after each other solely for food.
All in all, the cases of cannibalism among wolves are extremely rare and are often so minimal that most wolf zoologists don’t talk about, especially considering how other species have cannibalistic tendencies, which are far more prominent as they are with wolves.
Read Also: Do Wolves Eat Bones?
To conclude, wolves are apex predators and don’t have any natural enemies in the wild that will kill them and eat them for food. The largest threat to a wolf’s existence is still a human being, especially hunters that seek to thin down the predator populations in a habitat, especially if they live close to human settlements.