Foraging is a very broad concept in environmental ecology. While the basic idea is to link animal behaviors to their basic needs in energy and nutrients, it encompasses the majority of an animal's lifecycle from an energetic point of view.

Most of the activities of an organism can be linked to their foraging strategy. Motion, travel, finding a partner, mating, raising an offspring, all those activities requires energy forcing an animal to dedicate a substantial period of their lives solely for gathering calories and nutrients.

Foraging can be extremely complex because it potentially takes into account a very large number of factors: the relationships between the forager and preys and between the forager and predators, the forager's social habits, the climate and cycle of seasons, the movement of population, the size of the offspring, the varying nutritious qualities of the preys, the basal needs of the forager, the tolerated variability in a forager's life conditions and much more.

For these reasons and facing the immense diversity of wildlife, environmental scientists often rely on simpler models to evaluate foraging strategies and their respective efficiencies and adapt them specifically to the forager targeted in the study. Among these models are for example the Optimal Foraging Theory, the optimal patch choice and the concept of risk-sensitivity.