If you’ve ever wondered do wolves eat plants and vegetables, then the short answer is yes. When we think of wolves, we often think of fierce predators that hunt and eat the flesh of other animals. But the truth is, wolves are more than just meat eaters — they are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. 

Do Wolves Eat Plants and Vegetables

In this complete and comprehensive guide, we will explore the diet of gray wolves and red wolves to uncover the truth about what these majestic creatures eat.

Does a Wild Wolf Eat Plants?

Yes, it is possible for a wild wolf to eat plants. Wolves are opportunistic eaters that will gobble down whatever is available instead of going hungry. This means that these animals will also willingly eat plants and vegetables as well as live prey.

Wolves are carnivorous mammals belonging to the genus Canis, making them a close relative to dogs. There are two species of wolves: gray wolves and red wolves. Gray wolves are the most common and widespread species, while red wolves are rarer and found only in the southeastern area of the United States. 

Wolves are powerful and swift predators that hunt in packs and use their sharp senses to find their prey. But what do wolves actually eat? The answer is not as simple and straightforward as you might think.

Wolves have been known to feed on a variety of items, including large mammals, small mammals, birds, fish, insects, fruits, and even plants. So, while wolves are primarily meat-eaters, they are also opportunistic eaters that will take advantage of any food source they can find in the wild.

– Types of Plants That Wolves Eat

While they are primarily carnivorous, wolves will also feed on plants when the opportunity arises. Wolves will feed on a variety of fruits and berries, as well as roots, tubers, and other vegetation. They will also feed on grasses and other green foliage.

Wolves look for these food sources often when there’s nothing else around to help with digestion. However, green foods unsurprisingly offer them plenty of micronutrients, vitamins, and fiber. 

– Wolves Eat Plants Intentionally

A recent study has confirmed that wolves eat vegetation intentionally, especially in the summer heat. It seems like vegetables provide wolves with much-needed refreshments. The primary type of vegetable in a wolf diet is grass, which helps wolves boost their immune systems and metabolism, especially after days of binging on meat. 

Wolves will actually eat grass to ease their stomach problems, which can be caused by eating a larger animal or spoiled carcass. As wolves look to ease their stomach ache, they’ll binge on grass. Studies had shown that wolves also love to feast on flowers, blackberries, apples, pears, corn, strawberries, and other available fruits and greens.

These foods add crucial nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to their food, making wolves deal better with digestion and keeping themselves healthier. The study has also shown that wolves will eat more meat-based diets in the winter and varied foods in the summer, which is when vegetables are more readily available. 

– Amount of Plants in a Wolf’s Diet

The total diet of a wolf consists of up to 90 percent meat. The other 10 percent likely comes from fruits, vegetables, plants, and other matter that they might consume, like bones. This 10 percent of their diet comes from intentional vegetable eating. 

Amount of Plants in a Wolf s Diet

However, we still have to account for the unintentional foods in this 10 percent — for example, when a wolf eats smaller mammals whole, they also eat their stomach contents, which are largely filled with plant-based foods. This number is still quite low, but it’s substantial when it comes to the whole of what wolves usually eat.

Unlike obligate carnivores, wolves have the ability to digest and synthesize plant-based diets. These fierce monsters are known to eat berries, carrots, apples, and other similar fruits and vegetables. Around 10 to 15 percent of their diets consist of vegetarian foods.

– Fruiting Plants

Yes, wolves will sometime resort to eating fruits, mainly when they’re starving and are looking for a quick snack or a supplement. Wolves like sugar-filled fruits like cherries, blueberries, and strawberries. They do not like acidic fruits such as apples but will eat them if nothing else is available to them.

Wolves do in fact eat fruits for nutritional value and purposes. Although they’re unlikely to be scientific about their diets, they will strive to get every vitamin they can. Meats rarely contain everything they need, so fruits stand as a worthy dietary supplement for vitamins and minerals. 

Wolves like to snack on different berries that they find in the wild when hunting, traveling or scouting for their next victim. They’re also observed to have been feeding berries to their youngsters.

Eating fruits is however more common when they are in captivity, since their wild habitats are scarcely equipped with a variety of flavors compared to what humans can offer.

– Gray Wolf Diet

Gray wolves are the most common and widespread species of wolf found in North America, Europe, and Asia. These wolves live in packs and are apex predators and important species for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. The gray wolf is an opportunistic eater, meaning they will feed on whatever is available. 

In the wild, gray wolves will hunt and feed on large mammals like deer, elk, moose, and bison. They will also hunt smaller mammals such as beavers, rabbits, and hares. Wolves will also feed on birds such as ducks, geese, and grouse. They will also hunt and feed on fish such as salmon, trout, and whitefish. The Gray wolf will also feed on insects such as grasshoppers and beetles. Finally, they will feed on fruits, berries, and other vegetation.

In captivity, gray wolves will typically be fed a diet of raw meat and bones, with occasional fruits and vegetables. Some zoos and wildlife sanctuaries may also feed their wolves a commercially-prepared wolf diet. Regardless of the type of food, it is important to provide a balanced and nutritious diet to keep wolves healthy — something the wolf can rarely achieve on their own. 

– Red Wolf Diet

Red wolves are a rare species found only in the southeastern part of the United States. They are smaller and less powerful than gray wolves, so red wolves hunt smaller game. 

In the wild, red wolves will feed on small mammals like rabbits, hares, and rodents. They will also hunt and feed on birds such as ducks, geese, and grouse. Red wolves will also hunt and feed on fish such as salmon, trout, and whitefish. Much like gray wolves, these animals will also feed on insects, as well as fruits, berries, and various vegetation.

In captivity, red wolves just like gray wolves will be fed a well-balanced diet of raw meat and occasional fruits or vegetables. Wolves’ diet should include a variety of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

– Hunting for Plants

Wolves live and hunt in packs. They use their sharp senses of smell and hearing to detect their prey, and then they use their speed and strength to chase and catch it. Wolves will typically hunt larger mammals such as deer, elk, and moose, but they also hunt smaller animals such as rabbits, hares, and rodents.

Hunting For Plants

When wolves hunt and eat these animals, the contents of their stomachs will also be ingested by the wolves. Since these smaller animals are usually herbivores that mainly eat plants and vegetables, the wolves also absorb the greens that the prey have already eaten.

Wolves are considered to be carnivorous predators. They use hunting tactics to attack and kill their prey. They attack in packs when they are strongest and when they can tackle even larger game such as elk, moose, or bison.  Sometimes wolves will resort to hunting alone, but mainly when their prey are smaller animals such as rodents, rabbits, mice, etc. 

Why Does a Wolf Eat Plants?

A wolf eats plants because these animals are opportunistic eaters, which means they’ll eat anything they can get their paws on, so if there’s no meat around they’ll turn to plants that contain essential vitamins and oils that are usually scarcely found in meats.

To put it plainly, wolves will eat plants when there’s nothing else available, but the real answer may be somewhat more complex. Let’s check the top three reasons in detail. 

– Prey Isn’t Available

Wolves are keen eaters, and they do need to eat a lot. They usually consume around two pounds of meat a day just to keep themselves alive. When they’re in their mating season, they’ll need more than twice that amount, so eating is highly important to these animals. If no meaty prey is available and they’ve gone some time without eating, they will resort to plants to saturate their hungry stomachs for a while.

Wolves primarily eat meat, with it making up between 80 to 90 percent of their entire diet. When they hunt for food, they do love to scout and attack larger prey. Larger animals provide more food for the entire pack, and these hunts take up a lot of energy, so it stands to reason that they make these expeditions worth their effort.

Since all members of a pack need plenty of food, it makes sense to hunt for an elk rather than struggling to go for ten small squirrels. Ungulates make up the majority of a wolf’s diet — among these, deer are the most commonly preyed upon. When wolves fail to capture any prey, they will resort to eating plants and vegetables to fill their stomachs instead.

– When Their Stomach Aches

Wolves eat grass when their stomachs are hurt. This is because certain types of vegetation can help calm down an irritated digestive system and this is something that’s been observed with dogs as well. 

Dogs will often eat grass in order to vomit up something that bothers them. The grass is also very rich in fiber, which can help with digestion and ease their stool.

– Eating for Snacks and Vitamins

Even though wolves are primarily carnivorous, they still love some sweet treats. Whenever they are traveling or scouting, they may eat berries to keep them focused and refreshed along the way.

This helps them supplement meats with vitamins and minerals they usually won’t consume. They need to stay healthy to be able to survive and breed. 


1. Does a Dog Eat Plants and Vegetables?

Yes, a dog can eat plants and vegetables. Dog nutrition should consist of raw meats, bones, fruits, and vegetables. Fruits, plants and vegetables should ideally be included in a dog’s diet as they provide essential vitamins and minerals. Meats should be lean and contain a variety of proteins. 

Does A Dog Eat Plants And Vegetables

Wolves and dogs are both members of the genus Canis, but their diets are quite different. Wolves are primarily carnivorous, while dogs are omnivorous and will eat both plant and animal foods. Wolves will primarily hunt and eat large mammals, such as deer, elk, and moose, while dogs will typically eat a more varied diet that includes meat, fruits, and vegetables.

A dog is essentially a wolf in captivity and dog nutrition is almost always more substantial and balanced than that of a wolf. With this in mind, supplements can be added to a dog’s diet to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.


Wolves are powerful and fascinating animals that have complex and varied diets. In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the diet of gray wolves and red wolves to uncover the truth about whether or not these animals eat plants and vegetables.

To sum it all up: 

  • Being opportunistic eaters, wolves will willingly eat plants and vegetables as well as live prey.
  • Wolves are almost exclusively carnivorous beasts. This includes dogs too, which are closely related to wolves! However, a balanced diet is required for a healthy immune system and wolves will sometimes munch on greens and fruits.
  • Wolves will hunt and feed on large mammals such as deer, elk, moose, and bison. They will also hunt smaller mammals. Being opportunistic eaters, they will also enjoy fish, such as salmon, trout, and whitefish. Wolves will also feed on insects that they find in the woods.
  • Wolves like sugar-filled fruits like cherries, blueberries, and strawberries. They do not like acidic fruits such as apples but will eat them if nothing else is available to them.

We hope this guide has helped you gain a better understanding of wolves’ diet and nutrition.

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