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Wolverine Facts

The Wolverine is a solitary animal and a powerful and versatile predator and scavenger. Wolverines are stocky and muscular carnivores, more like a small bear than other mustelids. They are also one of the largest members of the Mustelidae family (the weasels).

The Wolverine does not hibernate and is at its most active in the winter. It is an agile, strong climber and spends much of its time in trees, where it will seize passing birds.

Wolverine Facts for Kids

  • Their lifespan is 5- 13 Years
  • They are fierce fighters.
  • They are highly territorial.
  • Females are 30% shorter than males
  • Wolverines eat rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents
  • They dig burrows to trap animals hibernating.

Everything You Need To Know About Wolverines

They Are Part Of The Weasel Family

Surprisingly, given that their stocky nature and muscular frame have more often been compared to that of a small bear, but actually, these animals are the largest member of the weasel family.

Many people would not know this by the sight of them, given that weasels are incredibly small animals, and wolverines are capable of reaching lengths of up to 42 inches!

They Are Carnivores

Their diets consist mostly of meat! They have been known to hunt and consume much prey, from deers, porcupines, and squirrels to beavers, rabbits, and moles.

There are many other cases of animals that these carnivores will happily turn into food, and their willingness to adapt to whatever meat is available is one of the major reasons for this animal’s success as a species.

They Have Demanding Habitats

They are most often found in boreal forests, taiga, and tundra in Europe, Asia, and North America, as these forests provide them with the area they need to roam.

Wolverines are not stationary creatures by any means. Their bloodlust and predatory instincts carry them far and wide, and they can travel up to 15 miles in a single day in search of various food sources.

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Facts for Kids

They even travel far in winter and have been known to dig into burrows where other animals are hibernating to attack and kill the sleeping creature. The habitats they live in might be demanding, but they’re more than a match for it!

They Are Believed To Be Polygamous

Polygamous animals mate with multiple partners throughout their life and do not raise their young together in a monogamous relationship.

Instead, males use scent markers when they are ready to mate, and they share their territory with multiple females who will meet them to mate.

Females will then take cover in snow during late winter to give birth to two or three kits, who may then stay with her until their reproductive age of 2 years old.

They Will See Their Father’s Too

Although their mothers take on much of the childcare responsibilities, fathers will visit them and their mothers during the first ten weeks whilst the kits are still weaning. After this, the father won’t return until the children are around six months old.

There are many cases in which fathers and their children travel together for a short period before parting ways for good after this age.

It is believed that fathers teach their children more survival skills during this time to guarantee their children’s survival once they are left alone at around two years of age.

They Are Opportunistic Feeders

Whilst they will hunt when necessary, they actually prefer to eat carrion. Carrion is essentially animal corpses that have already been killed, which means that a wolverine can have all the rewards with no effort.

They tend to get this carrion a few different ways. First, they may stumble upon it and eat it after another animal has finished eating, or second, they may sneak in and steal the corpse from another animal.

The second option is much more dangerous than the first, but these meat lovers will do anything for their food, including stealing from a much bigger, much more aggressive predator.

They Have Natural Enemies

If a wolf moves into a Wolverine territory, they will often move on, given that wolves are one of their main predators.

They are also wary of bears but will not necessarily move out of their territory if a bear moves into it.

Having said that, a wolverine is difficult to push around, and they will attack both bears and wolves if they try to steal their kill. Ironic, considering how willing wolverines are to steal from others!

They Have Thick Skin

Given how often these animals travel, it’s no surprise that they have had to adapt to harsh weather in order to survive in the open.

They take shelter in shallow areas when necessary, and their thick skin helps keep them warm. Their fur is also hydrophobic, meaning that it is resistant to water.

They can survive harsh weather events by simply resting and weathering it out until it is safe for them to get back on the move again.

They Are Slow Creatures

Surprisingly, considering their average daily travel of 15 miles, but these animals have short legs and do not travel quickly.

It isn’t speed, therefore, that helps them hunt and steal carrion, but their sneaking abilities.

They will happily lie in wait of an animal, remaining hidden until the perfect moment, when they will then pounce and kill their prey or steal the other animal’s prey away from them.

They Store Food

Wolverines are clever animals and won’t waste food if they’ve had their fill. Rather than leaving the food for another animal to come along and consume, they will take it with them and store it somewhere convenient.

They have even been known to dig a hole and bury their food before returning at a later date to dig it up and finish it off.

They Even Hunt From Trees

These mammals have adapted well to their forest home, and they are expert climbers. They will climb trees in the forest and wait on branches for passing prey.

They have been seen jumping from considerable heights to pounce on their prey below them, attacking and killing them in an instant, without their prey ever seeing it coming.

Their Population Is In Decline

Whilst not yet at concerning enough levels to be considered endangered, their population is in continual decline. This is for a multitude of reasons.

First, hunters seek their thick hydrophobic fur, and in the past, their skin has been used to line coats and other items of clothing. Second, their homes are shrinking because of deforestation.

It’s worrying to think that their population is declining year on year, and it’s something that will need to be monitored closely if we want to continue to see wolverines in the wild, and action steps will need to be taken to protect them and their homes!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a wolverine eat

Wolverines are omnivores and eat a wide variety of foods. They mostly eat large rodents but also hunt for smaller prey like birds, rabbits, deer, and hares.

What animals kill Wolverines

Wolverines are killed and eaten by bears, wolves, coyotes, and humans. Though the Wolverine is a fierce predator, it has few natural enemies in the wild.

The primary cause of death in wolverines is man. Humans have encroached upon their habitat and killed them for sport or for their valuable fur.

Where do Wolverines sleep

Wolverines use their claws to dig a den or tunnel to sleep in. They can dig a den in one day. They will make the den on a hillside or under fallen trees. Wolverines will also build dens out of rocks and vegetation when no other materials are available.

What is the average lifespan of a wolverine

They have an estimated average lifespan of 5-13 years in the wild. They are difficult to study, so this is just a rough estimate.

How smart are Wolverines

Wolverines are extremely intelligent researchers have discovered that they are very intelligent and adopt two conditions in the wildlife easily.

They are able to use shortcuts through industrial areas to avoid people and use seldom use roads to make their journeys over locations shorter.

Do Wolverines eat snakes

Snakes find them tough opponents because of their thick coats and agile reflexes.

Can Wolverines kill bears

They have extremely strong jaws, are quick, cunning, and fearless, have an indomitable will, and will not back down. Wolverines could kill bears, but bears aren’t pushovers either.

Unless starving or protecting their young, bears, wolves, and cougars avoid wolverines for a very good and clear reason. 

Although wolverines are rarely seen in nature, and even less when fighting with larger predators, many wildlife experts agree they can kill animals many times their size, such as bears and moose. 

In the past, moose have been killed by them.