The wolverine is the largest land dwelling member of the weasel family (the giant otter is the largest member overall). The Latin name, Gulo, means glutton, but it is also called a Carcajou
Their range is typically from the arctic and alpine regions of Alaska, Scandinavia, Siberia, and Canada, they can also be found in Russia and Baltic countries.
Until the mid 1800’s wolverines could be found as far south as the Sierra Nevada’s in California. Today there are a few left in the Rocky mountains and the Cascades of the United states.
Wolverines are generally very muscular and somewhat stocky,with long dark hair, possibly shading to yellow stripes along each side. It’s fur is very long and repels water to a certain extent , making it repel frost as well, which is quite helpful in the wolverines choice of habitat.
Sadly enough, this also makes it quite popular among hunters and trappers as a lining for cloaks and parkas An adult wolverine has a body length including the tail of approximately 44 inches, and a weight of anywhere from 20 to 55 pounds.
Wolverines have been described by many to look like a small bear with a longer tail, and are said to have a strong musky odor, this has also earned them the nickname “skunkbear” While officially they are carnivorous, they will also eat plants or berries if that is all that is available, and they are also notable eaters of carion.
Mustilids, which are members of the weasel family, have a special upper molar in the back of their mouth, which is rotated completely sideways, allowing them to tear off frozen meat, carrion, and crush bones so that they can consume the nutrient rich marrow.
A Wolverine is quite strong for it’s size and is thought to be one of the most aggressive and ferocious of the family. It has been documented that they can bring down prey as large as a moose if it is weakened or perhaps caught in a snowbank, There are also documented account of wolverines defending prey or carion from much larger opponents, such as a large black bear.
In this particular instance the wolverine lost however, this is an example of how ferocious these small animals can be. More often than not they simply rely on intimidation to frighten away any animal that infringes on their territory.
The mating season of the wolverine is in summer, but the actual insemination is usually not until early winter, and in the case of a food shortage or other problems, the female will not produce. The young( called kits) are born in early spring and mature quit rapidly.
They reach adulthood in about 1 year and have been known to live to as old as 13 years, though that is rare in the wild.
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