pronounced wul vuh REEN, is a fur-bearing animal that lives in the northern woods and
tundras (cold, treeless plains) of Europe, Asia, and North America. It is sometimes called
the glutton. Adult wolverines measure about 31/2 feet (110 centimeters) long and weigh up
to 55 pounds (25 kilograms). They are somewhat bearlike in appearance, with a heavy body
and short legs. The wolverine's long coat ranges from dark-brown to black, with a band of
lighter-colored fur along its sides to the top of a bushy tail. The animal is extremely
powerful for its size.
During the summer, wolverines feed chiefly on small and medium-sized mammals, birds, and
plants. During the winter, they hunt reindeer and caribou. A wolverine kills such large
prey by jumping on the animal's back and holding on until the animal falls. The wolverine
will tear apart the body and hide the pieces until it can return to eat them. Wolverines
also feed on the remains of reindeer and caribou that have been killed by wolves, bears,
or other animals.
The wolverine is rare today. In the past, it was ruthlessly hunted for its fur and because
it sometimes kills game animals and livestock.
Scientific classification. Scientific Classification: The wolverine belongs to the weasel
family, Mustelidae. It is Gulo gulo.
Contributor: Gary A. Heidt, Ph.D., Prof. of Biology, Univ. of Arkansas, Little