Trail cam captures wolves bringing ‘toys’ to their pups
A heartwarming video caught by a trail cam in Yellowstone National Park shows one of Yellowstone’s wolf packs engaging in a surprising act.
The footage showcases the wolves, members of the renowned Mollie’s Pack residing within the scenic expanse of Yellowstone National Park, bringing an assortment of objects to their den.
The video, released by Yellowstone National Park, depicts the wolves strolling purposefully past the camera, each carrying an assortment of intriguing items – bones, tree branches, and more – all intended for their eagerly awaiting pups.
While these creatures are known for their carnivorous diets, the unexpected behaviour in the video reveals a different side to their nurturing instincts.
“This spring, Yellowstone biologists documented adult wolves from the Mollie’s Pack travelling back to their den with some interesting items,” the park’s caption accompanying the video stated.
“Pups await food deliveries from successful hunts, but in the absence of food, adults bring ‘toys.’ 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.”
This behaviour parallels domesticated dogs’ tendency to fetch and play with toys. Although wolves don’t exhibit the same playful interactions with humans, their pups eagerly embrace any opportunity to chew, wrestle, and amuse themselves with sticks, twigs, and any objects they find.
The ritual of these wolves, which usually engage in mating in February and give birth in April, unveils their commitment to nurturing their young. Packs typically welcome a litter of four to five pups each year, with the survivors of winter learning vital skills like hunting alongside the pack and eventually assisting in raising the next generation.
Wolves are recognized for their intricate social structures and rely on the strength of their packs for survival. Within each pack, a complex hierarchy shapes their interactions. Alpha wolves, typically older individuals, lead the pack and oversee their younger subordinates.
Aside from defending their territories and ensuring the safety of their packs, wolves also orchestrate the care of their offspring. The recent footage released by Yellowstone National Park beautifully captures the essence of these often misunderstood creatures as they go beyond their fearsome reputation to share a heartwarming bond with their pups.
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe