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The wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family. Its home includes the arctic and subarctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.
The stockily built wolverine has very thick, dark brown fur, a white mark on its forehead, and two broad yellowish-white stripes down both sides of its body. It can run, swim, and climb very well. It has powerful short legs with broad paws and long sharp claws. The broad paws are like snowshoes, enabling it to hunt well during the winter.
The wolverine’s diet consists of a variety of items such as mice, rats, other small mammals, eggs, birds, berries, and rotting carcasses. In the winter, a wolverine hunts larger game such as caribou, elk, and moose. If it doesn’t finish its meal, the wolverine buries the remainder in snow or soil and then covers the carcass with a musk odor that will deter other predators. People living in the wilderness have had the misfortune of having their meat supply ruined by wolverines. The animals break into storage sheds and spray the meat, rendering it useless for humans.
The solitary wolverine lives in evergreen forests, finding shelter wherever it can. Very courageous and fierce, a wolverine can drive a much larger animal, such as a bear, away from a meal. It will face down enemies by baring its teeth, raising its hair, and growling. It uses its strong jaws and teeth to tear meat from bones and crush bones up to two inches (5 cm) in diameter.
The wolverine mating season is during July and August. After eight months, it gives birth to as many as four babies. The young are weaned at eight to ten weeks but stay with their mother for as long as two years, reaching maturity at four.
Eskimos prize the wolverine for its thick fur, which they use to line their parkas.
Carnivora • Mustelidae • Gulo gulo
Weight: 60 pounds (27 kg)
Length: 4 feet (1.2 m)
Life Span: 16 years
Special Design Feature: The wolverine has powerful short legs with broad paws and long sharp claws. This enables him to run, swim, and climb very well.
Did You Know? The wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family and is very courageous and fierce.