The Wolverine (Gulo gulo) is a carnivorous mammal in the Mustelidae family It is a mustelid. Gulomeans ‘glutton’ in Latin. It is also known as the Glutton, Carajou, Skunk Bear, or Quickhatch. It is not a wolf and it is not a skunk and it is not a bear. It is closely related to the Weasel.

The Wolverine looks like a small bear. It is stocky and muscular, with thick, oily blackish-grey fur that is naturally frost resistant (hydrophobic). Its face has a light-silver mask. It has small eyes, and short, rounded ears.  It has short legs and wide paws that act like snow-shoes. It has sharp claws. Its tail is bushy. 


It grows to 35-50 centimetres (14-20 inches) tall, which is like a medium-sized dog.

The Wolverine is found in North America, northern Europe, and northern Asia in sub-arctic regions, such as northern Canada, Alaska, western Russia and Siberia. It prefers forests and alpine tundras in cold, snowy, mountainous regions. 

It has scent glands which smells like a skunk. 

It is carnivorous scavenger, eating rabbits, rats, mice, squirrels, porcupines, beavers, shrews, deer, sheep, goats, bison, and carrion (meat of dead animals). It can kill animals that are bigger than itself, and sometimes eat an injured reindeer. It can travel up to 24 kilometres (15 miles) a day in search of food.

It uses its strong jaws to crunch through bone. It also has a special upper molar tooth at the back of its mouth that faces inside its mouth so that it can tear the meat from its prey, even if it is frozen.

Its main predators are the Grey Wolf and the Cougar.

It is a solitary animal.

The male and female Wolverine build a snow den. The female is pregnant for 30-50 days, before giving birth to 2-3 live young, called kits. The father also helps to raise the kits. 

The Wolverine lives, on average, for 17 years.


[Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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