Lone wolf (trait)

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For other uses, see Lone Wolf.

A lone wolf is an animal or person that generally lives or spends time alone instead of with a group.[1] The term originates from wolf behaviour. Normally a pack animal, wolves that have left or been excluded from their pack are described as lone wolves.


As an animal, a lone wolf is a wolf that lives independently rather than with others as a member of a pack.

In the animal kingdom, lone wolves are typically older wolves driven from the pack, perhaps by the breeding male, or young adults in search of new territory. Many young wolves between the ages of 1 and 4 years leave their family to search for a pack of their own (this has the effect of preventing inbreeding), as in typical wolf packs there is only one breeding pair. Some wolves will simply remain lone wolves; as such, these lone wolves may be stronger, more aggressive and far more dangerous than the average wolf that is a member of a pack. However, lone wolves have difficulty hunting, as wolves’ favorite prey, large ungulates, are nearly impossible for a single wolf to bring down alone. Instead, lone wolves will generally hunt smaller animals and scavenge carrion.[2]


As a person, a lone wolf is an individual who prefers solitude, is introverted, or who works alone.[1]

In literature, lone wolves are aloof and emotionally unable or unwilling to directly interact with other characters in the story. A stereotypical lone wolf will be dark or serious in personality; they are often taciturn, and will distinguish themselves through their reserved nature.

Lone wolf of the group[edit]

A similar concept is the lone wolf of a particular group, who spends enough time with a group to be considered a member but not enough time to be very close to the other members. Such people tend to not take part in the group activities or "get-togethers".

In military or security groups, such lone wolves frequently act on their own accord, insist on working alone, refuse to work with most (if not all) members of the group, and go against the plans of missions or operations by attempting to complete said task alone.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lone wolf - Define Lone wolf at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Mech L.D., Adams L.G., Meier T.J., Burch J.W., Dale B.W. (1998) The Wolves of Denali. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis