Wolves are amazing creatures, and it’s fascinating to watch them in their native habitat. Researchers and scientists are still learning so much about these animals and their behaviors.
Recently, biologists in Yellowstone National Park noticed a surprising behavior in one of their wolf packs — and it’s quite adorable.
Yellowstone monitors the wolves’ behavior with 24-hour camera feeds. This Spring, they started to notice an unexpected pattern of behavior from Mollie’s Pack.
Adult wolves were frequently seen bringing items back to their den. While it’s common for wolves to bring back food from their hunt, these were unusual items like sticks, branches and bones.
But biologists soon realized the heartwarming reason for this unusual behavior: the wolves were bringing back “toys” for the cubs.
“Pups await food deliveries from successful hunts, but in the absence of food adults bring ‘toys,’” the national park explained on Instagram.
Just like our own pet dogs (the wolves’ genetically close cousins) this pack of pups enjoys chewing on bones and sticks — but experts say it’s not just playtime but has an evolutionary advantage.
“The instinct to bring items back to the den may be reinforced by evolution, and probably helps keep adults from being mobbed by sharp puppy teeth,” Yellowstone wrote.
According to the post, Yellowstone wolf packs have one litter of 4-5 puppies a year, and they grow up fast: by late October, they are two-thirds the way grown and start helping the adults on the hunt.
They will also help raise the next litter of pups, bringing back food and toys for the young ones.
Wow, what a unique behavior to see in these wolves — it’s so heartwarming to see them bringing these “toys” for their young pups!
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