The Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) is an extremely rare species of lithe wolves that resides exclusively in the highlands of Ethiopia -- specifically in the Bale Mountains of the country's southeastern region. Ethiopian wolves are carnivorous members of the family Canidae. Physically speaking, these reddish animals have a lot in common with coyotes.
Ethiopian Wolf Background
Ethiopian wolves are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, as of 2011. These wolves reside solely in Ethiopia, where roughly 500 still remain. Habitat loss due to a variety of factors is a serious risk for Ethiopian wolves. One of the most prominent factors behind their habitat loss is agricultural growth. Other serious population risks are disease and road accidents. In terms of living environment, Ethiopian wolves usually stay in heathlands and grasslands. Over half of all Ethiopian wolves reside within the Bale Mountains.
Rodents of the Ethiopian Wolf Diet
These carnivorous wolves feed mostly on rodents, according to the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme. Rodents make up nearly 96 percent of all of the prey these wolves go after -- particularly the giant mole rat (Tacyoryctes macrocephalus). They also feed frequently on Blick's grass rat (Arvicanthis blicki), although not to the same degree as the giant mole rat.
Other Components of the Ethiopian Wolf Diet
Although rodents make up the bulk of a typical Ethiopian wolf diet, these diurnal animals also do eat other things. Smaller mammals are also common prey -- think the rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) and Starck's hare (Lepus starcki). These wolves also feed on bugs, birds, eggs and goslings, for a few key examples. Once in a while, Ethiopian wolves even feed on carrion.
For the most part, Ethiopian wolves go about their hunting endeavors by themselves. Since they primarily feed on rodents and smaller animals, hunting in a pack is usually not necessary or practical, as the kill simply isn't substantial enough for more than one wolf to eat. Occasionally, however, these wolves work in teams in order to acquire bigger finds, such as lambs and antelopes.
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