Video: Yellowstone wolves bring home ‘toys’ to keep pups busy

A wolf holds a bone in its mouth as it trots along a trail.
A Mollie’s Pack wolf heads back to the den with something for the pups.
(Yellowstone National Park Service)

Kids won’t stop biting? Throw ’em a bone.

Adult wolves at Yellowstone National Park were documented on video carting “toys” — in the form of bones of various shapes and sizes — back to their offspring. The park said Tuesday on social media that the practice probably helps keep the pups, and their sharp little teeth, busy.

Video shows adults in the Mollie’s Pack carting bones to their dens over the spring.

According to the park, there were 10 packs, with at least 108 wolves, in Yellowstone as of January.


Females give birth in April to an average of five pups. The young ones poke their heads out of the den within about two weeks, and a pack remains at the den for three to 10 weeks.

Bears are natural climbers and, unlike humans, do not need 425 feet of cable to scale the 46-degree-angle surface.

Aug. 18, 2023

And as the pups grow, the parents apparently look for a way to keep them entertained between meals.

“Pups await food delivery from successful hunts, but in the absence of food adults bring ‘toys,’” Tuesday’s post read. “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.”