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Do Wolves Eat Foxes? Not Usually, But They Might

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Wolves are mysterious and extremely intimidating creatures that roam the open wilderness and hunt other animals for food. Since foxes are smaller animals that live in the same habitat, you might be wondering if foxes ever become prey for the wolves.

Do wolves eat foxes? Usually no, but sometimes, yes! While both animals are hunters, the wolf is a larger and stealthier animal than a fox and it can easily overpower a fox in the right situation. Wolves do not prefer to hunt foxes as prey, but if the conditions are right, they will eat foxes to stay alive.

Wolf hunting in the forest

The remarkable events that unfold in the vast wilderness are often extremely captivating but also hard for us as humans to comprehend.

While we enjoy seeing animals live together in harmony, the truth is, in nature, an animal’s actions are based solely on their primal instincts. The seemingly harsh natures of wolves and foxes come from their desire to survive.

What Do Wolves Eat?

Wolves are carnivores which means they need to eat large amounts of protein to survive. Their protein comes from meat and the only meat that a wolf can get is from other animals.

Wolves rank at the top of the food chain in the forest because while they hunt other animals, no animal hunts wolves. They often hunt together in packs, unlike foxes who tend to hunt alone.

Typically, wolves naturally like to hunt larger hooved animals like moose, elk, and deer. If bigger prey is not available, wolves will eat whatever animals they can find including rabbits and beavers in an effort to keep themselves and their pack alive.

Three Wolves in the Snow

If a human population lives near a wolf habitat, wolves may venture onto farms and eat livestock if they are hungry enough. Wolves do not hunt humans and it is extremely rare for wolf attacks on people to occur, but it is always safer to keep your distance. They will attack anything that makes them feel threatened, even massive grizzly bears.  (source)

Why Do Wolves Sometimes Eat Foxes?

Although a wolf typically doesn’t want to eat a fox, they will under the right circumstances. If a wolf is starving and a fox is their only viable option, then a fox could then become a dinner option.

Foxes are fast and can hide easily, but they are often no match against a wolf.

Wolves will also attack a fox if they catch the fox scavenging on an animal they have killed. A wolf will not only defend its den from a close roaming fox, but it will also defend any food it has killed for its own pack.

In these situations, wolves can attack a fox, sometimes fatally, and they may or may not choose to eat them afterward. (source)

Dangerous red fox standing on meadow in winter nature

Why Don’t Wolves Eat Foxes Normally?

Wolves prefer to eat hooved animals like deer and moose, while foxes like to hunt smaller prey.

This means that the two animals do not hunt the same prey, so they usually do not cross paths or find themselves competing for the same food.

A fox carcass also does not provide the amount of meat like a deer or moose does. Wolves hunt to not only feed themselves but their pack as well, so they would much rather find a larger hooved animal than waste their time chasing a small fox.

Will a Fox Ever Eat a Wolf?

Foxes do not eat wolves because they instinctively know that they cannot win in a fight against a wolf. Unless a wolf is injured in some way, a healthy fox will not even attempt to hunt a wolf and eat them.

A wolf would have to be basically dead and the fox would have to be starving to even venture near a wolf, even if it appears injured.

They know that if there is one wolf, there are more nearby. Whenever a fox even smells or sees a wolf, they will most likely head in the other direction to avoid even the remote possibility of an altercation.  

Are Wolves and Foxes Related?

Actually, yes! No, foxes do not descend from wolves, but wolves, foxes, domestic dogs and coyotes all belong to the Canidae family of animals. The gray wolf ranks at the top of the list as the largest canid animal.

The Fennec fox, a tiny creature that usually only weighs up to 3.5 pounds, is the smallest ranking member of the canid family.

So, in a way, wolves are related to the fox. Both animals are predators and enjoy hunting their food, although foxes tend to go for the smaller, more vulnerable prey. (source)

What Do Foxes Eat?

Two foxes playing in a snowy woodland

Foxes like to eat a variety of small prey and can wreak havoc on a backyard chicken farm. Foxes are omnivores, so they eat a combination of plants and animals.

They enjoy eating mice and other rodents, as well as rabbits, chickens, and birds. They are usually no match for a dog or adult cat, but they have been known to eat kittens or puppies.

Foxes are scavengers and will eat on the dead carcasses of animals that wolves and other predatory animals eat, which can get them into a lot of trouble.

Foxes like to hunt small prey not just because they are easier to kill but also because they are easier to carry back to the den. Foxes like to get their prey, carry it home and hide it in their den, away from other predators. (source)

What Animals like to Eat Foxes?

Coyotes, wolves, bears, and mountain lions are the main predators of foxes but typically they do not hunt foxes for food purposes.

Most often, foxes are killed by animals that they intentionally, or unintentionally, compete with for food.

If foxes are hunted as prey, it is usually when they are still young, which means they are easier to grab and carry off. Wolves and coyotes have been known to raid a fox den if they are desperate for food. (source)

Final Thoughts

If the conditions are right, it is possible for a wolf to eat a fox, but usually, they don’t bother them. Unless a fox comes too close to a wolf den or tries to eat their kill, wolves usually stay away from foxes.

However, if a wolf pack is desperate for food and a fox is the only choice, is it possible, albeit rare, for a wolf to kill a fox strictly for food purposes. When survival is at hand, anything is possible in the wilderness.

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