Wolf Bounces Around Like A Puppy Dog Trying To Get A Grizzly Bear To Play With It In Yellowstone

Yellowstone gray wolf

iStockphoto / Gianluca68

It is Springtime in Yellowstone National Park and wildlife photographers are waking early each morning to snap footage of the park’s famous animal residents as dawn breaks.

Wildlife photographer Trevor LaClair of Trekking with Trevor took an early morning drive in Yellowstone and captured adorable and once-in-a-lifetime footage of a wolf trying to entice a bear into abandoning a meal and playing.

Presumably, the wolf didn’t really want to play with the grizzly bear. LaClair wrote on Instagram that he believes the wolf was “play bowing and bouncing around” to get the bear to abandon the carcass it was eating so the wolf could swipe an easy meal.

Trevor LaClair writes that he “stopped at a nearby carcass that had a grizzly bear on it” and heard a “distant howl” when three wolves appeared. One wolf then descended the hill towards the bear.

The bear was in the frozen pond eating and lunged at the wolf who jumped back playfully. Then the wolf kept up the typical wolf pup (dog-like) behavior and tried to entice the bear into playing as if they were puppies. The video has since gone viral on Instagram and TikTok:


Oh my gosh, this made me SO happy! Actual footage of an introvert and extrovert interacting. During an early morning drive in Yellowstone, we stopped at a nearby carcass that had a grizzly bear on it. As we grabbed out cameras to get into position, a distant howl echoed across the valley. I was ecstatic knowing that there were wolves nearby. While photographing the bear, I noticed a single black wolf trotted down the hill toward the bear. Three more soon appeared. Two of the wolves approached the grizzly, hoping to get a taste of the carcass the bear pulled out of the frozen pond. One of the wolves got to close and the bear lunged at it as a warning. However, the wolf viewed it as an opportunity to lure the bear away and began play bowing and bouncing around. This was the cutest and best thing I have ever seen. It was hard not to laugh at this interaction. After a while, the grey wolf gave up and laid down nearby, waiting patiently for a piece of meat., looking like it was pouting. Eventually, the grizzly left and two of the wolves tugged at the remaining carcass. We continued to watch for a couple hours until the wolves trotted away. This was the best wolf sighting I have ever received during all my years of guiding in the park. I was so happy to be gifted with this experience! That wolf definitely left me with a huge grin on my face. Nature is awesome! . . . #wolfpack #wolf #wolves #wildlifephotography #wildlife #wildlifeplanet #wildlifeconservation #bear #grizzly #grizzlybear #yellowstone #animalkingdom #animals #nationalgeographic #natgeowild #wilderness #nature #animallover

♬ original sound – Trevor LaClair

It is unclear what type of carcass the bear was eating that the wolf was trying to steal.

People on both Instagram an TikTok were in awe of the playful Yellowstone wolf and bear footage. One person wrote “That is absolutely amazing!!!!! Incredible footage” and another added “That play bow from the wolf!!”

On TikTok, someone joked “so….maybe wolves initiated the whole domestication thing” Another person wrote, “My wolf dog does that when she wants food I have.” Someone else chimed in with “Even wolves try to act cute when begging for food.”

It is impossible to say for certain what the wolf was doing here. But given that we possess a large body of evidence on wolf behavior, it seems fair to call this ‘playing’ as wolves do with one another.

Since the Yellowstone grizzly bear was eating a carcass, it also seems logical that the wolf wanted that easy meal. But we simply cannot rule out that the wolf just wanted to hang out and play with the big furry bear…