The maned wolf hunts primarily at night, and during dusk and dawn hours, while the days are often spent resting, often in areas of thick bush cover (5). The diet consists of a wide variety of fruits and small mammals, such as armadillos and rabbits, but also includes occasional pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus), birds, reptiles, insects, fish and arthropods (1). The maned wolf’s main source of food is the tomato-like lobeira fruit, which grows throughout its range and is thought to provide medicinal aid against the giant kidney worm, Dioctophyme renate (1) (5). Scavenging on road-kill also occurs and free-ranging chickens are frequently stolen from farms (8).
Unlike other wolves that live in cooperative breeding packs, the maned wolf is primarily solitary (10). Although the basic social unit is the male-female mated pair, which share a home range typically between 25 to 50 square kilometres (11), these individuals remain fairly independent of one another and only closely associate during the breeding season from April to June (5) (6) (8). The female gives birth to a litter of one to five pups each year (average of three) between June and September (6) (8). Originally, it was believed that the female alone cared for the young, suckling them for up to 15 weeks (3). However, in captivity males have been observed grooming and defending pups, as well as feeding them by regurgitation. Pups reach sexual maturity and disperse from their natal home range at around one year old, but do not usually reproduce until the second year (8). Captive individuals have lived up to 16 years (8).