Don't mind if I do...
Wolves are opportunists so they might eat other smaller animals if presented with an easy catch. But mostly, Yellowstone wolves stick with larger ungulates that can feed the whole pack. Wolves in other ecosystems specialize in other prey. Midwestern wolves eat a lot of white tailed deer and beaver. Coastal wolves fish and eat coastal critters. Arctic wolves hunt caribou, arctic hares, and musk oxen.
Unlike coyotes or foxes, Yellowstone wolves don't usually supplement with berries or plants. And while they may kill other carnivores, they probably don't eat them (because they don't taste that great). This is why you can't eat competitors in the game (and they don't eat you).
Yellowstone is home to a rich variety of animals and WolfQuest has a long wish list of animals we would love to add to the game.
Hooved herbivores are favorite meals for wolves
Yellowstone is home to eight ungulate species, five (eventually, six) of which are in WolfQuest.
- Mule deer
- Bison (currently old bull bison only)
- Bighorn sheep (in progress)
Rare in Yellowstone so likely not coming to WolfQuest
- White-tailed deer
- Mountain goats
Mostly not worth a wolf's time
Rodents are a major food source for many Yellowstone predators...but not wolves. For the most part, rodents (mice, voles, shrews, squirrels..) are tiny and many live underground or high up in trees or hibernate most of the year. So, they are not important food for wolves ... nor high on the WQ wishlist. The amount of effort, compared to an ungulate feast, needed to hunt rodents is better left to smaller carnivores.
- Beaver (Yellowstone wolves have not been seen hunting beavers, but these hefty rodents make a fine meal for a patient wolf)
On the WolfQuest Wishlist
- Yellow-bellied Marmot (this plump rodent might be a good addition)
- Uinta Ground Squirrel (sleeps most of the year, but older, summer pups might enjoy hunting them)
- Porcupine (because, although not common, they would be hilarious)
Hares, Rabbits, & Toads
More fun for players than real life wolves
They look like rodents but have different teeth and only eat plants (not nuts and seeds). Like rodents, they are a lot of work to catch for very few calories. If you are a large canid, you will look for larger prey. In WolfQuest, hares offer a fun chase and might tide you over while you master hunting ungulates.
- Snowshoe hare
On the WolfQuest Wishlist
- Toads (rare in Yellowstone and just for fun, not food)
- White-tailed Jackrabbit (to give the snowshoe hares a break)
Hard to catch, mostly feathers
A wolf might eat a bird if it landed near its mouth but why bother? Birds are best left to smaller predators with lower calorie requirements. Even big birds like eagles and ravens are too quick and careful to be a reliable food source. WolfQuest has birds for ambience but none are huntable.
Slippery and small. Let the otters have them.
Yellowstone wolves have not been observed spending time fishing. You might ask: What carnivore wouldn't want a nice, fat trout? But predators will always look to expend the least effort for the most calories. The amount of energy needed to catch enough fish to feed your whole wolf family is not worth it – compared to an elk buffet that will sustain a pack for a week or so. Smaller, canid predators like coyotes might consider fishing worth their time if easier meals (like your elk buffet) are not available. Other small predators, like ospreys, bald eagles, and otters specialize in fishing.