Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family. In fact, it has been referred to as a “super weasel”, however, its appearance more closely resembles a badger or bear. Fully grown male wolverines can be up to four feet in length, including a tail that is almost one foot long, and be 14 to 17 feet in height at the shoulder. The weight can be from 30 to 60 pounds. Female wolverines are smaller. Wolverines have thick fur that is dark brown in color on the top and underside with paler brown on the sides of the animal.
Wolverines reside in cooler evergreen forests located 800 to 13,000 feet above sea level. They are native to Alaska and various other areas of North America, Northern Canada, Siberia, Scandinavia, Russia, Northern China and Mongolia. Wolverines are loners except during the mating season. Wolverines maintain a pattern of alternately being active and resting in 3 to 4 hour intervals, but do most of their hunting at night. They do not bother to make any type of permanent home, instead, they make use of whatever shelter they can find in whatever area they happen to be hunting in. This includes man made shelters; The wolverine may tear away cabin walls to gain entry and might destroy whatever is inside while consuming any food they find as well. Such acts has earned them a reputation for being destructive.
Wolverines are not capable of great speed and does not have much skill at stalking prey. Instead this animal primarily depends on its incredible courage for gaining food. The wolverine will raise the fur on its back, erect its tail, bare its teeth and give a low growl in order to scare other predators away from their prey. The wolverine has very strong teeth and jaws.
Wolverines enjoy a widely varied diet. They will feast on mice, small mammals, rats, ground nesting birds, eggs, even snails. Carrion, especially that killed by other animals, makes up the bulk of their diets. Uneaten food is stored by being wedged into a tree or covered under dirt or snow.
Wolverine offspring are born from the months of February to May. These young are born in places such as snow drifts or hollow trees. At birth they are covered in a coat of thick fur. At 8 to 10 weeks they are weaned. Young wolverines stay with their mothers for two years. A wolverine reaches sexual maturity at four years of age. The gestation period of the wolverine is not certain. It seems to vary from 60 to 120 and even up to 183 days. This is due to the fact that wolverines experience what is known as delayed implantation.
Sadly the wolverine is in danger. Their population has declined drastically in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The primary reason for this is poisoning and trapping for the fur trade industry. Destruction of the animal’s natural habitat and warming climates are also a large threat. In order to find enough to eat in their rugged habitats, wolverines are being forced to create abnormally vast home ranges often travel long distances.