Wolves are arguably the most well-studied large predators in the world, yet new research shows there is still a lot to learn about their hunting tactics. Typically, wolves hunt large mammals like moose, deer, and bison in packs by outrunning, outlasting, and exhausting their prey. However, throughout the dense boreal forests in North America and Eurasia, during the summer wolves often hunt beavers by themselves.
But how does a wolf catch a semi-aquatic prey that spends little time on land and never ventures far from the safety of its pond? Turns out with patience, and a lot of waiting.
In a new paper published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Voyageurs Wolf Project—which studies wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem in the northwoods of Minnesota—show that wolves have evolved ambush hunting tactics specifically tailored for catching and killing beavers. MORE
Header image: Voyageurs Wolf Project.