Description: The Wolverine is one of the largest members of the weasel family. It has long, brown or black fur that keeps it well insulated from the snow and cold of its northern habitats. A long, brownish stripe across the back is sometimes visible. Males can weigh up to 36 pounds, whereas females may weigh 25 pounds. Wolverines have large claws and pads on their feet to help them move in deep snow. Wolverines have short, powerful limbs and a reputation for ferocity. They will even drive away grizzly bear from kills. Wolverines are thought to be the strongest animal in their size range. Few animals will attempt to hunt the wolverine, but occasionally a hungry grizzly bear or a pack of wolves will confront one.
Diet: Like many northern carnivores, Wolverines are opportunistic hunters and will eat just about anything including rodents, eggs, carrion, deer, sheep and even animals far larger themselves. They are found throughout the northern sections of the world including Eurasia and northern North America. In the United States, Wolverines are now found primarily in the forested mountain areas of Montana and Idaho, but may wander to other northern states as well.
Behavior: Wolverines are solitary, mainly nocturnal animals that are extremely aggressive to other wolverines of the same sex that enter their territories. Wolverines are excellent climbers and swimmers and can easily cover a 10 mile area in search of food. Wolverines have a keen sense of smell and mark their territory and food caches with scent glands.
Young/Reproduction: Wolverine mothers build snow dens in which they give birth. Gestation periods vary from 30 to 50 days. Young Wolverines typically nurse for about 10 weeks.
Status: The Wolverine is the mascot of the University of Michigan, despite the fact that until recently, one had not been seen in the state for 150 years. In fact, Wolverines once inhabited areas across the northern United States. They have been extirpated from the eastern United States and are now endangered due to habitat destruction and over hunting. Ranchers kill them because they perceive them as threats to livestock, and hunters kill them because their fur is very valuable.