Fun Facts About Wolverines

Wolverine Walking
Credit: Stayer/

The wolverine, with its stocky, muscular build, looks like a small bear. However, it's the largest member of the weasel family. The animal can be found in artic and sub artic regions in Canada, Northern Europe, Russia and Siberia. They are solitary creatures that live about 7 to 12 years in the wild.

Wolverines are roughly the size of a medium dog weighing about 20-55 pounds (9-25 kg) with a body length up to 40 inches (107 cm). Despite its short legs, it has large, five-toed paws that help it move easily through snow and ice. The animal is a fierce predator and can kill objects much larger than it. It mainly eats mice, shrew, squirrels, porcupine, and other rodents but will attack injured deer or caribou.

Wolverines have dense, dark, thick fur that is hydrophobic meaning it's resistant to water. They typically have bushy tails and a stripe of lighter fur down its back. They also have a special upper molar tooth that is rotated 90 degrees and that allows them to tear off meat quickly.

Other facts about wolverines

Wolverine Skull
The skull of wolverine shows the strong bones and teeth of the mammal.
Credit: Christopher Kolaczan/

Wolverine fur is highly prized because it's resistant to frost. Hunters and trappers often used it as a lining for parkas.

The large paws of the wolverine have sharp, curved claws that help them climb sheer cliffs and ice.

Wolverines often mark their trail by leaving scents secreted from their anal glands. Due to the pungent smell, the animal is sometimes called a "skunk bear."

Although a voracious predator, wolverines will sometimes eat berries and fruit in the summer.

A wolverine’s strong jaw and teeth have been known to devour even the teeth and bones of prey.

While not the largest predator in their area, wolverines are known for their fearlessness. They often attack much larger prey and will compete against wolves as well as other predators for food.

Wolverines have a keen sense of smell. Many can smell a carcass under several feet of snow allowing them to scavenge animals killed in an avalanche.

Other resources:

National Geographic - Wolverine

PBS Nature - Wolverines

National Wildlife Federation - Wolverines

BBC Nature - Wolverine

Canadian Geographic Kids - Wolverine

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