101 Facts About Wolverines


Wolverine
  • Wolverines prefer to live in remote areas, far away from humans and buildings. 
  • Wolverines can travel up to 40 km during its daily hunting activities.
  • The North America wolverine is also known as a mountain devil.
  • North American wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family.
  • Wolverines weigh around 40 pounds. 
  • Although small, the wolverine is capable of fending off bears and wolves
  • The wolverines have more than one name such as the glutton, carcajou, or skunk bear.
  • The wolverine is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids. 
  • The wolverine is a solitary animal with a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size. They can kill prey many times larger than itself. 
  • Wolverines live in remote reaches of northern boreal forests and subarctic conditions. Their most significant population is in northern Canada and Alaska.
  • The wolverine population has reduced since the 19th century due to trapping, range reduction, and habitat fragmentation. 

If you have ever wondered how wolverines survive in the wild, I have written an article, which you can find here.

Wolverine
  • The wolverine is related most closely to martens. They all share a Eurasian ancestor.
  • The wolverine has a broad head with round, small eyes and short rounded ears.
  • North America wolverines are usually larger than those living in the south. 
  • Wolverines have one of the most beautiful furs among all hair-bearing animals.
  • North America wolverines descended from a single source.
  • Wolverines have short legs with large, five-toed paws. The paws have crampon-like claws and plantigrade posture which enable them to climb up and over cliffs and snow-covered peaks with relative ease.
  • An adult wolverine is the size of a medium dog, 65-107 cm long, with a tail of 17-26 cm and weight of 5.4-25 kg.  
  • Male wolverines are 30% larger than females and can be twice the weight. 
  • Wolverines have thick, dark, oily fur which is highly hydrophobic, making it resistant to frost and water. 
  • Some wolverines have a light-silvery facial mask.
  • Wolverines have a pale buff stripe which runs laterally from the shoulders, along the side and crossing the rump just above the 25-35 cm bushy tail. 
  • Some wolverines display prominent white hair patches on their throats or chests. 
  • For 101 facts on moose, click here.
  • Wolverines have potent anal scent glands used for making territory and to signal when they are in heat.
  • Wolverines have a pungent odour that has led to them being nicknamed “skunk bear.”
  • Wolverines possess an upper molar in the back of the mouth. It is rotated 90 degrees, towards the inside of the mouth. The molar allows wolverines to tear off meat from prey or carrion that has been frozen solid.
  • Primarily wolverines are scavengers. They like to eat meat or food that is already dead. 
  • Wolverine’s sustenance is from carrion, on which it depends almost exclusively in winter and early spring. 
  • Wolverines hunt for corpses after the predator has finished or will take it from another predator.
  • Wolverines have a feeding style that appears voracious, leading to the nickname of “glutton.” This feeding style came about due to food scarcity.
  • The wolverine is a powerful and versatile predator. It feeds on small to medium prey sized mammals. They will also prey on adult deer, which are many times larger than itself. 
  • In the Yukon Canada, the wolverine is known to kill Canadian lynx. Other prey includes porcupines, squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, marmots, moles, gophers, rabbit, voles, mice, and rats.
  • For 101 facts on narwhals, click here.
  • Wolverines will go after live prey that is relatively easy to obtain. These can be animals caught in traps, newborn mammals, and deer which are weakened by winter weather or immobilized by heavy snow.
  • Wolverines supplement their diet with bird eggs, roots, seeds, insect larvae, and berries. 
  • Wolverines will also eat plant materials, especially during winter, when food is scarce.
  • Wolverines in North America are not active in hunting. As the predator population is dense, the wolverine will wait for another animal to kill and then try to snatch it.  
  • Wolverine’s natural predators are wolves. When wolves invade wolverines territory, they will abandon the area.  
  • In North America, the gray wolf has the highest record of wolverine fatalities.
  • Wolverines will defend kills against larger or more numerous predators such as wolves or bears. Wolverines are remarkably strong for their size.
  • Brown bears are known to kill and eat wolverines. They will also chase wolverines off kills. 
  • Brown bears hunt wolverines. The Wolverines will try to avoid an encounter with grizzlies.
  • During times of plentiful food, wolverines cache their food. It is particularly essential to lactating females in the winter and in early spring.
  • For 101 facts on armadillos, click here.
  • Victorious male wolverines will form lifetime relationships with two or three females, which they will occasionally visit while other males are left without a mate.
  • Wolverine mating season is in the summer. The actual implantation of the embryo in the uterus is kept until early winter, delaying the development of the fetus.
  • Female wolverines do not produce young if food is scarce. They will wait until such time as there is enough food. 
  • The wolverine’s gestation period is 30-50 days, and litters of two to three young kits are born in the spring. 
  • In the first few years, kits develop fast and will reach adult size.
  • The typical lifespan of a wolverine in captivity is around 15 to 17 years. In the wild, the average lifespan is between 8 and ten years.
  • The male does make visits to their offspring until they are weaned at ten weeks of age. Once the young are about six months old, some kits reconnect with their fathers and will travel together.
  • Wolverine toes, forepaws, or legs are occasionally marked with white. 
  • Wolverines occupy habitats where they have a den to live. It is essential to the females to have a place to give birth and raise their kits.
  • For 101 facts on bighorn sheep, click here.
Wolverine
  • Wolverine’s dens are in the tundra and alpine regions and consists of a complex of tunnels with boulders or rocks. 
  • Tracked wolverines have a collar which allows its movement to be monitored using a satellite.
  • The male wolverine has a home range which extends from 100 km2 to over 1500 km2. 
  • Wolverines have the most extensive home range for a carnivore of their size, and in many areas, they rival the home ranges of bears, wolves, and cougars.
  • The wolverines home range size depends on the availability of food. When food is available, the home range is smaller, and when food is scarce, the home area is more significant.
  • Male wolverines can travel long distances during their daily hunting activities than females. 
  • Wolverines use traditional routes, revisiting the same places every year.
  • Wolverines are always on the move in search of food unless they are nursing young kits.
  • Young male wolverines leave their home range area after becoming sexually mature, at one or two years of age. Young male movement can be extended up to 300km or more away from where it was born. 
  • Female wolverines leave their home areas after becoming sexually mature but settle within an area close to where they were born. 
  • The wolverine species is one of the fiercest creatures on the earth and will drive black bears away from their kills.
  • For 101 facts on grizzly bears, click here.
  • There is no documented attack on humans by these mammals, according to trappers and hunters. 
  • In North America, there are a hundred wolverines in zoos. They do breed in captivity but have high infant mortality.
  • The wolverine is a creature remarkable in the folklore of North America first nation’s peoples. 
  • The wolverine is considered a pest by North Americans, an attitude which came to light in the 1960s. 
  • Wolverine numbers are significantly reduced in areas where they existed. Very few people have seen wolverines in the wild.  
  • Wolverines are one of Canadas least known wild animals.
  • Before the appearance of Europeans in North America, wolverines occurred throughout Canada and Alaska. 
  • Over a third of the historical wolverine range in North America is no longer occupied. Their loss of range is attributed to human activities and change of climate.  
  • Wolverines are known to carry away moose carcasses and caribou heads. 
  • Wolverines are subject to the same habitat threats that affect other carnivores in Canada, such as the brown bear.  
  • For 101 facts on blue whales, click here.
  • The wolverine does not thrive in habitats which have been permanently altered by land-based activities with agriculture, industrial development, and human settlement. 
  • Wolverines have a difficult time living in areas where there is trapping allowed.
  • New roads leading to wolverines habitats put them at risk. 
  • Wolverines pelt remains one of the most prized furs because of its beauty and its hydrophobic qualities.
  • The Inuit and Dene natives of northern Canada use wolverine fur as trim and lining for their parkas, mitts, and moccasins. 
  • Wolverine fur is consistently high in value. A well-handled and prime pelt sells for an average of $400 USD.
  • Denning wolverines are sensitive to disturbance, particularly from human activities. 
  • The wolverine’s low numbers make the recovery process very slow since few young are born each year.
  • Many cities, teams, and organizations use the wolverine as a mascot. 
  • The wolverine figures prominently in the mythology of the native Innu people of eastern Quebec and Labrador. In one Innu belief, they are the creator of the world. 
  • The word’s wolverine population is unknown.
  • For 101 facts on polar bears, click here.
Wolverine
  • The IUCN lists the wolverine as least concern because of its “wide distribution, remaining large population, and the unlikelihood that it is in decline at a rate fast enough to trigger being near threatened.”
  • Female wolverines burrow into the snow in February to create a den, which they use until weaning in mid-May. 
  • The wolverine’s existence is at threat due to global warming. This leads to shrinking the ranges of the wolverine population.
  • The United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed giving Endangered Species Act protections to wolverines due to its winter habitat in the Northern Rockies diminishing. 
  • Wolverines can travel huge distances to find a mate.
  • Wolverines defend vast, gender-exclusive territories that they mark with their urine.
  • Wolverines have a social side, though not to the extent of forming large-scale communities.
  • Male and female wolverines territories usually overlap, and mating pairs and their litters share powerful family bonds.
  • The parents maintain strong ties with their kits even after they have reached adulthood.
  • Wolverines do not hibernate. They remain active even during winter. Their extremely dense fur and large paws are akin to snowshoes allowing them to cover snow and frozen terrain efficiently.
  • For 101 facts on jaguars, click here.
Wolverine
  • The dominant male wolverine will form life-long mating relationships with two to three female partners. They will maintain these relationships throughout the breeding season, while other males are left lacking a mate of their own.
  • The wolverine’s lone nature makes them sensitive to intrusion by humans.
  • Wolverines are protected under the Endangered Species Act. A federal judge rejected the fish and wildlife service decision to deny wolverines protection under the endangered species act. 
  • Adequate studies on wolverines are expensive and difficult to conduct because of their large home range and low densities. 
  • In Canada, the committee on the status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, considers wolverines found west of Hudson Bay to be of “Special Concern” and the eastern population, located in Quebec and Labrador, to be “endangered.”
  • The wolverine’s existence is threatened by changes in weather reducing its habitat.
  • The increased human activities of agriculture and mining threaten the wolverine’s existence.

If you have ever wondered how wolverines survive in the wild, I have written an article, which you can find here.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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