Misfit Animals is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn More.

Baby Wolves Facts: What They’re Called, Eat & More

Baby wolves are called wolf pups. Baby wolves are born in litters of 1-13 pups. They are cared for the first couple of months but join in on hunting when they’re six months old. 

Similar to dog babies, wolf babies are called pups, or puppies.

All Wolfpack Ranks (Wolf Facts) x
All Wolfpack Ranks (Wolf Facts)

When they’re born, they can’t do much and are hence cared for by their mother, as well as other females of the pack.

In this article, we’ll provide additional details about baby wolves, what they eat, how they’re raised, and more.

What Are Baby Wolves Called?

A baby wolf is called a pup or whelp.

Pups are usually born in spring and they can be anywhere from 1 to 13 in a litter, though most litters contain 4 to 6 pups. 

Most people find wolf pups extremely cute and adorable, but don’t be mistaken. They quickly grow up to become fierce hunters. 

While baby wolves aren’t very big at birth (most of them weigh between three and five pounds), the pups can open their eyes within 10 to 14 days after being born. 

female wolf

Birth of Baby Wolves

Wolves are born in a litter, which means that baby wolves are usually surrounded by their siblings. Litters can have anywhere from 1 to 13 baby wolves, but the average litter has 6 pups. 

Baby wolves weigh about 3 to 5 pounds at birth and are covered in fur. Their eyes open within 10 to 14 days after being born and they start to eat solid food within 3 to 5 weeks.

When the female wolf is ready to give birth, she’ll retreat into the den. This is where the wolf pups will be born and raised until they’re big enough to venture outside.

How Many Baby Wolves Are There in a Litter?

The average litter size is about 4 or 6 baby wolves, but some litters can be as small as one baby wolf and others over a dozen. 

Related: How many pups does a wolf have?

What Do Baby Wolves Look Like?

Baby wolves look much like baby dogs. They’re smaller versions of their parents, with big paws and small bodies. They are covered in a thick layer of fur, which will keep them warm. 

Baby wolves weigh just a pound at birth but will grow rapidly; by 6 months they are big enough to join in on hunting, and at 2 years old they’re considered adults.

female wolf and pup

Growing up as a Wolf Pup

Wolf pups are incredibly adorable creatures, but as they grow up, their cuteness fades and they become fierce and dangerous predators. 

Growing up, they’ll be nursed by their mother and other female wolves in the pack. As the alpha couple is typically the only mating pair that breeds, the other females direct their attention to helping the alpha female raise the pups.

The male wolf doesn’t take part in raising the pups as much as the mother, but will instead go on hunting trips to gather food for them.

Time Event
Birth to two weeks These are the very early stages of a wolf’s life. They can’t see and primarily use touch and smell to explore their surroundings. They don’t say much apart from the occasional squeaks. They do this to signal that they’re hungry. The baby wolves are cared for by their mother, who’ll feed them and clean them.
Three to five weeks The wolf pups can start to see and hear, and they’ll explore their surroundings. They’re still cared for by the pack, who’ll be very protective of them.

Around this time, the pups can start to eat solid foods. This is regurgitated by their mother, as they can’t chew meat yet.
They’ll also start being very vocal, using growling, barking, yelping, and other vocalizations.
Five to ten weeks Around this time the pack will move to a so-called “rendezvous site”, where the pups can play and explore more. 
They become more independent from their mother and will start to establish dominance within the litter.
Four to eight months Wolf pups will start to go on hunting trips, accompanied by adults, if they’re big enough. They become even more vocal and will start learning about hunting and pack culture.
They’ll also be a lot bigger by this point, with sharp teeth and claws.
Nine to twelve months The wolf pups are nearly fully grown by this point and are considered adolescents. They’ll start acting more like adults, such as marking their territory.
Two to three years By now they’re considered adults. They may leave the pack in search of a mate, or their own pack. They may also remain in the original pack, taking care of new puppies.

How Big Are Wolf Pups?

When baby wolves are born, they weigh about one pound. They’re very small and delicate creatures that need a lot of care in the early weeks and months of their lives.

baby wolf

What Do Baby Wolves Eat?

Baby wolves fill feed on their mother’s milk for the first 3 to 5 weeks. Around this time, they’ll be able to eat solid food, though it still has to be regurgitated by the mother first. When they’re 7 to 10 weeks they develop small teeth, which they can use to eat smaller animals.

Generally, wolves are carnivores, meaning they feed on meat from other animals. They typically hunt for ungulates, but if these aren’t around, they’ll hunt smaller animals like rabbits.

Wolf pups will start out by hunting smaller prey, which they can take down and eat themselves. They may also eat insects, reptiles, and similar.

Related: What do wolves eat?

baby wolf eating

Dangers to Baby Wolves

In the wild, baby wolves are susceptible to a variety of dangers. One of the most common threats for wolf pups is diseases. The mortality rate for wolf pups is about 40% to 60%.

Baby wolves can also be preyed upon by larger predators such as bears and eagles. Additionally, baby wolves are vulnerable to diseases and parasites. At times, they also die from starvation, as it can be difficult to find food in the wild.

Disease Risks

One of the biggest dangers baby wolves face is diseases. They are susceptible to a number of different illnesses, and can easily catch something from their mother or other pack members.

As baby wolves have yet to develop a proper immune system, the consequences of catching a disease are much greater, often resulting in death.

baby wolf waiting

Malnutrition

As wolf pups are able to hunt for themselves, they rely on the rest of the pack. At times, there’s simply not enough prey to hunt, and the pups will suffer from malnutrition and starvation. This can ultimately lead to death.

wolf pup walking

Abandonment

A baby wolf, known as a pup, is born with its eyes closed and relies on its mother for food and protection. While it’s not seen often, wolf pups are at times abandoned by their pack.

wolf-pack-walking-in-winter-landscape

Predators

Wolf pups can fall prey to bears or eagles, who are looking for a quick and easy meal.

Related: What are wolves’ enemies?

Eagles

How Long Do Wolf Pups Stay In Their Pack?

Wolf pups are born into packs and stay with them until they are about 2 to 3 years old. They learn how to hunt and survive from their pack mates, but way eventually ventures out on their own. 

They do so to find a mate and a pack of their own.

Wolf pups may also stay in their original packs. When they do so, they help take care of new pups, and often replace the breeding pair when they get too old to reproduce.

pack of wolves

Conclusion

Baby wolves are called pups. They’re born blind, deaf, and toothless with their eyes closed. Wolf litters range from 1 or 13 baby wolves. They rely on their pack for protection and care.

When wolf pups are about 6 months old, they can start to join in on hunting expeditions. After 12 months, they’re almost fully grown, and around 2 years old they’re considered adults.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.