Wolverine

Wolverine.

Name

  • Common name: Wolverine
  • Scientific name: Gulo gulo
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Mustelidae

Also known as

Skunk Bear, Glutton

Viewing opportunities

  • Wolverine are one of the most reclusive animals of the boreal forest. In winter, visiting kill sites from hunters or wolves may result in a sighting.
  • In summer, look for Wolverines in the sub-alpine and alpine areas, where food sources such as ground squirrel or marmot colonies are found.

Description

  • Stocky and muscular body-resembling a small bear.
  • Dark fur with a blonde stripe running down both sides of the body.
  • Bushy tail, short legs.

Fast Facts

  • Length: 1 m
  • Weight: 12 kg
  • Lifespan: 6 to 13 years
  • Predators: Wolves and bears
  • Habitat: Boreal Forest, Mountain Alpine, Arctic Tundra

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S3 (Vulnerable)
  • Global: G4 (Apparently Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.

Behaviour

Wolverines are solitary carnivores that occupy home ranges that span hundreds of square kilometers. Wolverines are opportunistic in their feeding habits and will eat almost anything. They are mostly known as scavengers of carrion, such as moose or caribou killed by other predators. Carrion forms a large component of their diet, in addition to hunting small prey, such as Snowshoe Hare. Female Wolverines give birth to kits during late winter, earlier than other northern carnivores. A Wolverine den is typically a tunnel dug into deep snow in alpine and subalpine areas, where snow lingers until late spring.

Diet

Small to mid-size mammals. They will often scavenge kills of moose, caribou and sheep.

Distribution

Wolverine distribution map.

Sights and sounds

Wolverine track, front.
Wolverine track, front: 6.3 x 7.5 cm.
Wolverine track, hind.
Wolverine track, hind: 7.5 x 9 cm.

Wolverine kill site.
Kill that has been scavenged.

Wolverines and people

  • Wolverine pelts are highly valued because of their frost resistant properties.
  • Wolverine is the icon of remote wilderness, because of their elusive nature and requirement for large home ranges.