What do Arctic Wolves Eat? – (Characteristics & Hunting Behaviour)

Arctic wolves, also known as white wolves or polar wolves. The Arctic wolves inhabit the Arctic regions of North America and Greenland. 

Arctic wolves eat

The Arctic wolves eat large ungulates like caribou, muskoxen, and arctic hares. They also supplement their diet with small mammals, lemmings, and birds in scarcity. 

In this blog, let’s discover more about the eating, hunting behavior, and characteristics of Arctic wolves. 

Arctic Wolves Hunting

The Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos) is an incredible predator that has adapted to survive in some of the world’s most extreme freezing temperatures.

An arctic wolf hunts using its keen eyesight and sense of smell to locate prey miles away. These wolves typically target small mammals like rodents, arctic hares, and muskoxen, but they also take down larger animals like caribou and even arctic bears if they get a chance. 

When hunting in packs, which are usually comprised of 5 to 8 arctic wolves, they take down large animals. As a lone wolf is not capable of preying on large animals.

This is why these predators hunt with other wolves rather than individually, as it gives them access to much larger prey. 

By hunting together, arctic wolves survive in the cold and harsh Arctic climate to find enough food for their entire pack. 

Where Do Arctic Wolves Live?

Arctic wolves (Canis lupus arctos) are found in the extremely low-temperature tundra of the far northern Arctic region. They inhabit a wide range of terrains, including rocky coasts, mountains, and frozen plains. 

The packs usually live within about 1000 miles, where they hunt for their prey—primarily caribou, muskoxen, and small rodents. 

Arctic wolves have a thick fur coat with a dense undercoat that protects them from extreme cold weather. They also use their fur to blend into their snowy environment, making it difficult for prey to spot them. 

Moreover, they are subspecies of grey wolves that have evolved according to the freezing conditions for their survival.

Habits and Lifestyle

Arctic wolves hunt and live in a pack that ranges from 2 to 8 wolves. Each wolf of a pack has a position and assigned duties. After hunting, they distribute the prey.

Their pack has one alpha male and one alpha female wolf, the leaders, and the only mating pair in a pack. With this, the other pack members help in raising the newborn pups. 

The Arctic wolves strictly avoid hibernating as most of their prey remains active during winter. They stay awake, active during the day and night for hunting, and generally diurnal. 

The Arctic wolf uses different body language to communicate with other wolves. They also use different vocal forms to communicate. 

Like howling, which they use to locate their pack, gather the other pack members, and defend their territories.

Diet and Nutrition

The arctic wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals such as voles, lemmings, arctic hares, and caribou.

 These predators also consume a variety of other prey when available, including fish, birds, and even carrion.

Reproduction & Breeding Season.

In winter, the arctic wolves reproduce and mate during the breeding season, which starts in January and remains till March.

arctic wolves

 This is when male arctic wolves establish territories and mark boundaries to protect their pack. Females mate with only one male at this time, and the gestation lasts between 53 to 61 days. 

Pups are typically born in late May to early June, and after birth, they remain with their parents until they reach sexual maturity.

After reaching adulthood, they establish their territory and start to reproduce during the same breeding season as their parents.

Moreover, Arctic wolves have a variety of adaptations that help them survive in the extremely cold environment of their Arctic region.

Like, Their thick fur and wide feet help them navigate the snow-covered terrain, as well as sharp teeth and powerful jaws for catching prey. They also can handle highly cold temperatures better than other subspecies of wolves.


The population of Arctic wolves is under threat due to many factors. Climate change is a significant concern, as it is causing the melting of sea ice and reducing the availability of their primary prey, such as seals. 

This forces the wolves to travel miles away for food, leading to increased competition and potential conflict with other predators. Human activities, including hunting and habitat destruction, also pose a threat to their survival.

Presently, it is estimated that the population of Arctic wolves is around 200,000. And this species is categorized as least concern by IUNC. 


Arctic wolves, a interesting animal species live in the northern region of Greenland and North America . And arctic wolves eat lemmings, arctic hares, nesting birds, caribou, polar bears, muskoxen, and small rodents. 

They have a thick coat and dense undercoat that helps maintain their body temperature during the extremely cold climates of the arctic tundra.

Moreover, this subspecies of the gray wolf is marked as the least concern species. Check out the amazing video given below for more information about Arctic wolves. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do Arctic wolves eat list?

The Arctic wolves eat arctic hares, lemmings, arctic bears, nesting birds, and ungulates. 

Do Arctic wolves eat seals?

Yes, arctic wolves eat Arctic seals. 

Do Arctic wolves eat Arctic foxes?

Arctic wolves do eat Arctic foxes. 

Why do wolves eat Arctic foxes?

Wolves are opportunistic animals that don’t leave any of their prey.

Olivia Kepner