It’s official: Wild wolves love playing with "toys."
A webcam set up in Yellowstone National Park captured a pack of wolves taking bones, antlers, and branches back to pups in their dens.
The video shows how young wolves enjoy playing with such objects, and that their parents clearly dote on their young offspring.
“This spring, Yellowstone biologists documented adult wolves from the Mollie’s Pack traveling back to their den with some interesting items. Pups await food deliveries from successful hunts, but in the absence of food adults bring 'toys,'” the park service wrote.
It would also seem that wolf parents have more in common with human moms and dads than you might think.
Officials went on to explain that encouraging the use of these "toys" likely helps keep the pups busy and distracted, so the parents can have some peace. Probably, they lessen the number of nips the adults receive from their rowdy hungry puppies, who have very sharp teeth.
According to the park service, Yellowstone wolf packs typically have one litter of four to five pups each year, and by late October, pups grow up to "two-thirds of their adult size." This is the time when the pups will start traveling with the pack. Those who survive the winter will have learned to assist the pack in hunting large prey like elk and bison. They will also help raise their pack’s next litter of pups, bringing food and sometimes toys, the park services said.