Stranger wolves are a mix of rival wolves belonging to other packs and dispersal wolves on their journey to find a mate much like the player's avatar. These entities were introduced with the public launch of WolfQuest in late 2007.
These wolves appear in single player across all maps and episodes, while in multiplayer, they only appear along with predator wolves if playing the raise pups game mode. In scent vision, toggled by the V key, players can easily identify stranger wolves by their yellow scent trails.
If the player has a mate, their mate's scent trail is amber to help differentiate between other wolves.
Stranger wolves will behave according to their status as a rival, a predator or a dispersal. Behavior differs between episodes and maps. The locations and behavior of stranger wolves differs between episodes.
During the first episode and Lost River, rival wolves will always engage the player in a hostile manner during a social arena encounter. They have a short temper and will not tolerate the player's presence in their territory.
- If provoked, they will fight until defeated, sometimes to the death.
- If the player submits midway through a fight, the stranger will momentarily cease attacking; repeating submissive, neutral or passive responses will end this brief truce and the opposing wolf will resume fighting until either the player dies, leaves of their own volition, continues fighting and successfully dominates the stranger.
- If the player submits after defeating a stranger wolf, the wolf may submit once more then leave, or it will become annoyed and attack the player. If the player attacks it again, depending on its health, it will either leave or be killed by this action depending on its remaining health.
During the second episode, rival wolves are non-interactable; a group of rival wolves will spawn and roam within the grounds of their territory if the player comes within range of their boundaries; these wolves will watch the player (and their pack) for as long as they are nearby, growling and snarling all the while. It isn't possible to get too close to these wolves without a message box warning the player to keep their distance due to the threat the pack may pose to the player's offspring.
- Main article: Dispersal wolf
Dispersal wolves are only encountered in Amethyst Mountain. These wolves are neutral, if not friendly towards the player and will not attack regardless of the player's response to them in a social arena. If they are threatened or challenged by the player, they may leave the arena.
For as long as the player does not have a mate, dispersal wolves have a chance to spawn in any one of the three wolf territories.
- Main article: Predator wolf
Predator wolves are only encountered in Slough Creek. They work in the same way as any other pup predators, targeting one of the pack's pups with the intention to kill if it is successful in getting close enough to the den. These wolves cannot be interacted with in a social arena encounter.
- Main article: Stranger wolf territory
During Amethyst Mountain, stranger wolves can only be found and interacted with inside their respective territory zones.
- The Slough Creek wolves have established their territory to the north-west, near the Grassy Plain.
- The Specimen Ridge wolves have established their territory to the south, near Amethyst Mountain.
- The Druid Peak wolves have established their territory to the east, near Soda Butte Vista.
- Main article: Stranger wolf pack
During Slough Creek, stranger wolves are confined to the northern and southern territories. The player and their pack are not able to delve into the heart of either territory like they could in the previous episode; getting close to the territory reveals a group of stranger wolves who will observe and follow the player.
A boundary prevents entry for the player and restricts the NPC wolves from leaving.
Occasionally, the player may find a roaming predator wolf has intruded into their territory. This wolf belongs to one of the two packs.
In Lost River, stranger wolves behave like their Amethyst Mountain counterparts. Three wolf-inhabited territories can be visited to find rival and dispersal wolves.
- The Elevation wolves have established their territory to the south, near Allison Acres.
- The Van Winkle wolves have established their territory to the west, near Baer Bluffs.
- The Lost River wolves have established their territory to the east, near the Back Forty.
It is possible to kill stranger wolves, though entirely dependent on the wolf's remaining health.
A way to trick a wolf out of submission involves submitting yourself, then either submitting a second time or waiting. The opposing wolf is then likely to attack again allowing another chance for the player to attack. However, if the wolf's health is not low enough for it to die, it will flee on its next turn.
- If a stranger wolf is killed during Amethyst Mountain (and likely Lost River), their death is treated as permanent by the save file. That wolf will not respawn unless starting from a new save.
- As of version 2.5, Amethyst Mountain's stranger wolf spawn locations across all three territories became randomized. Prior to this, their locations were predictable since they used guaranteed coordinates.