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Jun 23 2009

Although he has been described as one of the “fiercest” creatures on earth, he is currently at-risk in British Columbia.

Hugh Jackman may have given him a face; however, most of us will never really know him.

And due to the fact you’ll probably never run into one of these shy guys in the wild, get to know the elusive, yet fascinating, wolverine with 10 easy facts.

1. “I just need some space”
The wolverine is solitary and needs ample room to roam. The male has a home range of approximately 1,000 square kilometers, while the female tends to be more of a homebody, not venturing much further than 100 square kilometers. These home ranges are the largest reported for a carnivore of this size. Call him high maintenance; a wolverine’s range rivals those of bears, wolves and cougars.

2. “Ladies’ man”
The wolverine is known to share his territory with several females and is believed to be polygamous.

3. “Size is no issue when you’re stealthy”
The wolverine, never to be discouraged by fear or logic, has been known to attack animals many times his size, such as caribou, if the prey appears to be weak or injured. However, the wolverine doesn’t necessarily have the bravest of attack methods. While hunting, he will often climb trees or tall rocks from which he will jump on to his prey’s back as part of a stealthy sneak attack.

4. “I like to watch my weight, sometimes…”
Although the wolverine does indeed, have an insatiable taste for meat, he is known to lighten it up in the summer season with vegetarian fare, like plants and berries. However, when a meat craving occurs (as it usually does), the wolverine has no shame; he’ll do whatever it takes to satisfy his craving. Anything from animal carcasses to hibernating animals, mice to moose, to the scrappy wolverine, meat is meat.

5. “Mama’s boy”
Kits (young wolverines) often live with their mother until they’re ready to find a mate of their own, about two years old.

6. “It wasn’t me!”
The wolverine earned himself the nicknames “skunk bear” and “nasty cat” due to the very strong and equally unpleasant odour he releases when threatened. The wolverine uses his flatulence not only for self preservation, but to aid his gluttony. It a wolverine can’t scarf down all of his food, he’ll spray it with his musk, and bury it for later.

7. “Family ties”
Wolverines belong to one of the largest carnivore families, the Mustelidae. With relatives including the skunk, otter, badger and mink, the wolverine is definitely earned the ‘bad boy’ reputation of the family.

8. “Jawbreaker”
The wolverine’s jaws, thanks to a special upper molar turned 90 degrees inward, helps him crunch through frozen meat and bone with ease. Yummy!

9. “My claws are cooler than Hugh Jackman’s”
The wolverine’s semi-retractable claws are great for digging, climbing and scaring away predators. His paws are equally well designed, acting as snowshoes which help him from sinking into the snow.

10. “Going the distance”
A wolverine has a one track mind. Always looking for his next meal, the wolverine is willing to travel 40 kilometers in a day in search of his next meal. However, the wolverine is anything but picky. Quite the opportunistic diner, he will eat whatever is close and easy.

One more fact for good luck...

11. “Don’t hunt me ‘cause I’m pretty”
The wolverine has one of the most striking pelts of all fur-bearing animals. Unfortunately, this means wolverines are coveted for their beautiful and frost-resistant fur, often used for parkas.

To learn more about the wolverine click here.


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