In this article, we’ll answer the question:
“Are wolves dangerous?”
First, you’ll find a short summary about the dangerousness of wolves in general, then get specific answers about these mammals like are wolves aggressive, will they bite, do wolves eat humans, etc.
Wolves, also commonly known as the gray wolf or timber wolf, are large canines (Canis genus) of the Canidae family in the Carnivora order.
Are Wolves Dangerous?
Wolves are dangerous to humans. However, incidents involving wolves attacking people are exceedingly rare in nature because these animals generally avoid contact with humans.
According to The Wildlife Society, “[There are] reliable reports between 2002 and 2020 involving 489 victims of wolf attacks. Most of those related to rabid wolves, though. Forty-two others were attacked after provoking wolves, three of them fatally. About 13% of the attacks appeared predatory in nature, though. Sixty-seven people were victims of predatory attacks, including nine who were killed.”
In general, wolves are not usually dangerous to humans. They may attack if they feel threatened or provoked, but this is rare. Wolves tend to avoid people whenever possible and typically choose to retreat rather than confront a person. However, it’s essential to be aware of wolves’ potential danger and take proper precautions if you are in a region where wolves are present.
If you encounter a wolf in the wild, stay calm and slowly back away from it. Do not run, as this may trigger the animal’s predatory instinct. Always keep children and pets close by, and avoid making loud noises or sudden movements that could startle the wolf.
Are Wolves Aggressive?
Wolves are not aggressive to humans and tend to shy away from people in nature. However, wolves are very aggressive toward domestic dogs, wolves from other packs, and other animals they sense as a threat in the wild.
Wolves defend borders against other wolves, making territorial disputes between wolves typical. Wolves are also aggressive toward domestic dogs because these pets are perceived as a threat. If a wolf feels that a dog is invading its territory, it may attack the dog and kill it.
Wolves typically avoid humans, but there have been instances of wolf aggression toward people. In general, wolves are more fearful of humans than we are of them. If a wolf strikes a human, it is usually because the wolf is rabid, sick, or injured and cannot hunt its natural prey.
As you can see, wolves can be aggressive under certain circumstances. However, they are cautious around humans and avoid confrontation as much as possible. In fact, wolf attacks are the rarest of all large predator attacks.
Do Wolves Bite?
Wolves do bite and have a bite pressure of up to 1,200 pounds per square inch. Wolves can crush large bones in only a few bites but very rarely chew on humans unless they feel threatened or are provoked.
A wolf’s bite is often more of a warning than anything else for a human if it’s coming from a healthy wolf. Sick, rabid, or injured wolves may act more aggressively with their bites and latch onto a part of the human body to try and tear or crush the bones.
Do Wolves Attack Humans?
Wolves do attack humans but it is very rare. Reports between 2002 and 2020 involved 489 victims of wolf attacks which average out to 27 attacks per year.
Most people in North America and Eurasia can live very close to wolves and be perfectly fine without an attack about 99% of the time according to wildlife experts. However, wolves should not be fed or encouraged to spend time near people or attacks can become more frequent.
Do Wolves Eat Humans?
Wolves do not eat humans and reports of a wolf consuming a person’s body have not been documented. Some wildlife experts estimate that a wolf would not even eat human flesh if this canine killed a person but would just leave it for other animals to feed on.
Wolves prefer to eat large hoofed mammals, such as bison, moose, deer, and elk, and hunt smaller mammals like beavers, hares, and rodents.
Are Wolves Friendly?
You can visit our other guide about are wolves friendly to find out how nice these canines can be to people in the wild and at a zoo.
Wolves Dangerous & Aggressive Summary
You now know the answer to the question about are wolves dangerous.
As you discovered in this guide, wolves do not eat humans or attack people unless they feel threatened. Therefore, are wolves aggressive or not depends on if these mammals are being encroached upon by people in nature or in captivity.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.