If you were a young adult Ethiopian wolf, you would have a choice to make: Should you be a member of a monogamous breeding pair or a helper to an already established breeding pair (who are probably your parents)? The choice seems obvious, right? I mean, who wants to be a helper? Why should you forgo all the glory and status of being part of the breeding pair to be a babysitter?
But Ethiopian wolves often do make that choice. These wolves are territorial rodent hunters and their survival and success depends on how many giant mole rats (their favorite food) and Murinae rats (a second-choice food-option) are available in the territory. In territories with fewer rodents, Ethiopian wolf families are likely to consist of a mother, a father, and their pup born that season. However, in territories with lots of rodents available, wolf families also include some of the older siblings from previous years. Why do they stick around?
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