In a wolf pack, the wolves will attack the omega wolf to assert their dominance, to relieve their stress, or to instigate play with other wolves.
An omega wolf is the lowest member of the wolf pack hierarchy. Normally the hierarchy is very set in stone with wolves. The alpha males and females lead their packs, while the rest of the pack will follow their lead.
On the other hand of the pack is the omega wolf, which is usually the wolf with the least respect in the pack. This animal will live on the outskirts of the pack and will eat last because it doesn’t have the same level of dominance as the alpha wolf has.
And other wolves will attack the omega wolf, although these attacks are often non-blooded affairs. They will attack it to relieve their stress or to assert their dominance and confirm the current social structure of the pack.
Why Do Wolves Attack the Omega Wolf?
1. What is an Omega Wolf?
An omega wolf is either a female or a male wolf, and it’s often seen as the “scapegoat” of the pack.
In the social structure of the pack, the omega wolf is in the lowest position, which is normally reserved for wolves that are not confident and don’t display any dominance.
Because of its low “ranking”, the omega wolf will start to show its low levels of dominance in its behavior. These are the signs of an omega wolf:
- It will usually stay away from the core of the pack, as it will wander away and live on the outskirts of the pack, rarely mixing with it
- It has an unconfident posture, as it will squeeze its tail between its legs and hang its head
- It eats last if there are any remains of the food that wolves have found or have been given
- Omega wolves are normally found in captive wolf packs, although they’re sometimes to be seen in wild packs, too.
The omega is the lowest ranking individual of the pack. In all wolf packs, the social structure is quite clear: the alpha male and female lead the pack and take shots for the pack, while others will subjugate to them.
In a captive wolf pack, the cards are shuffled a bit. Along with the alpha wolves, there are also beta and omega wolves. The beta wolf has more power than the omega wolf, as it is still incapable of challenging the alpha, although it still has dominance over the omega. The omega is normally the scapegoat and an instigator of play, as it will get attacked often.
2. Why Do Wolves Attack the Omega Wolf?
There are several reasons as to why other wolves attack the omega wolf:
- To relieve stress and relax themselves
- To assert dominance over the omega wolf and strengthen their role within the pack
- To instigate play and start playing with other wolves from the pack
This way, the omega wolf acts as a sort of a scapegoat for all the problems of other wolves, as a stress reliever that will help them overcome difficult times. These attacks can get unpleasant, although they are rarely bloody – they will get harsher during the breeding season, though.
Other wolves can be quite receptive to the behavior of the omega wolf. They’re thankful for their subjugation, which they greet with howling. The omega wolf, on the other hand, will be submissive and will let out submissive voices when they get attacked by other wolves.
This is more of an instinctive behavior that’s used to maintain the pack structure rather than it being a thought-after process. It’s far more common for wolf packs in captivity where wolves don’t have to attack other animals, so they need a way to let their energy out, as they take it onto the omega wolf.
In the wild, the omega wolf is not as common. The wolf packs in the wild are much more tightly knit together because they have to stick together in order to survive and make sure they overcome the challenges that nature throws at them.
3. Will a Wolf Kill the Omega Wolf?
No, these attacks on omega wolves are often not bloody and they’re closer to the playful behavior rather than full-on attacks.
Often, attacking an omega wolf means starting the playful behavior between wolves, which can act as their stress relief, especially during the winter and in captivity. So these attacks don’t amount to much other than a few scratch marks and a few bites, which can heal quite quickly.
However, during the mating season, these attacks on the omega wolf get much fiercer. Sometimes, they can get bloody and vicious, although they almost never result in the death of the omega wolf.
Wolves will rarely kill other wolves, too. This will only happen in the wild when the food is scarce, as the wolf packs will try to defend their territories. Sometimes, a wolf pack will attack another and harm each other, which might even result in deaths.
4. What Makes an Omega Wolf?
An omega wolf will stay an omega wolf right into its old age, as it once gets designated this role within the pack. This is the lowest ranking wolf in the pack, and it’s usually the weakest wolf that doesn’t have many social ties with the pack.
Normally, the omega wolf is the wolf that’s not able to make connections with the pack or a captive wolf that has been taken with the wolf pack from another wolf pack in the wild.
This means that the omega will have little to no say within the pack, and will usually come last when it comes to feeding.
Just like humans, wolves have a set social hierarchy that must be respected. Their social structure is slightly different than ours, and they have an omega wolf that’s more commonly seen with captive wolf packs.
The omega wolf is normally the lowest ranking wolf with little to no say as to the daily affairs of the pack, and it gets sometimes attacked by other wolves to portray and strengthen the roles within the pack.