Hunt marmots in packs or alone

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN

Hunting together is the most important occupation for a wolf pack. In packs, wolves can also hunt larger prey - for example defensive wild boars, red deer and elk. How do you do that?

save energy

When wolves have spotted a prey, they sneak up as close as possible. Only when they are only a few meters away from the prey do they run and hunt them. Wolves are not particularly persistent sprinters. A long chase would take too much energy. Therefore they try to catch the prey after a few quick meters. If this does not succeed, the wolves let go of their prey. Then they have to try again later. Sometimes it can take a few days for a pack of wolves to successfully snatch prey and eat their fill.

Clever strategy

Experienced wolf packs split up: Then only a few wolves in the pack sneak up on the prey and drive it towards the other members of the pack who are hidden in wait. If the prey comes near them, they jump out of their cover and attack. This method works quite well, but it doesn't always work either. An adult, healthy red deer or a strong wild boar is difficult prey even for a pack of wolves.

Most of the time, wolves kill old, sick or weak prey. This is good for the wild population, because it means that diseases, for example, cannot spread so easily. The forest also remains healthier if there are not too many roe deer and deer to eat the young plants.

Hunters and babies

In the wolf pack, the parents are the boss, because they are the most experienced animals. They also lead the pack when hunting. The young wolves go on the hunt to learn from their parents. Puppies must stay at home. But already in late autumn the little ones are almost as big as their parents and are allowed to come along. When a young wolf leaves his family after about two years, he has learned everything he needs to know to hunt and can support himself.