Animal Awareness Tip: The Wolverine

Maideline Sanchez

Wolverines may look like small bears but in fact they are the largest species of the weasel family. While traveling long distances of up to 240 square miles, they hunt for prey of any size. This prey can be longer than the animal, such as elk, deer, or caribou. To rip up their kill, they use their strong jaws along with a pair of specialized molars that are set perpendicularly towards the throat. Their stocky muscular features, along with their large head in proportion to their body, allow wolverines to successfully kill prey of great size. They have thick, dark, oily fur which is highly hydrophobic. The furs ability to “wick” away water makes it great in cold, frosty weather.

Mating season begins in the summer between the months of July to August. While the males are polygamous during the summer, females are monoestrous: meaning that they can only conceive offspring once a year. Implantation of the embryo is delayed until the winter months of late November to early March. After 2 to 3 kits are born, they will reach adult size within the first year of a 5 to 13 year life expectancy. By two years old however, they lead their own lives without their mothers.

Did You Know? Wolverines are always on the run; when they are not resting, they are sprinting for many miles (up to 240 square miles) in order to find food.