The Wolverine
Characteristics:
  • Height:
    about 18 inches (male)
    14 inches (female)
  • Length:
    about 45 inches (male)
    36 inches (female)
  • Weight:
    around 36 pounds (male)
    25 pounds (female)
  • Diet:
    whatever it can catch or find
    From rats, and rabbits
    to deer and caribou
  • Habitat:
    Northern United States, Canada,
    Alaska, Siberia, Northern Europe.
    (It's area is shrinking.)

    • The Wolverine, (Gulo Gulo)
      Also known as the Skunk Bear, Devil Bear, Carcajou, and Glutton.

    The wolverine is the largest land-dwelling member of the family Mustelidae (animals such as minks, weasels,otters, skunks). Fot its size, the Wolverine is probably one of the smallest and most powerful top-of-the-food-chain predator. It makes a Tasmanian Devil look like a sissy. The wolverine is powerfully built, and well adapted for winter survival. The wolverine walks on the soles of its feet as do bears and humans. This is called a plantigrade posture and allows the animal to move much easily through soft, deep snow.

    Wolverine fur is typically a thick, glossy dark brown. A light, silvery facial mask is obvious in some individuals with a pale buff stripe running from the shoulders along the animal's side and crossing the rump just above a long, bushy tail. A white hair patch on the neck and chest is often present in some individuals while not occurring in others. White hair on the toes, feet and forelegs is not uncommon. The Wolverine has 38 very sharp teeth and five slightly retractable and very sharp claws on each paw. Because of the stripes along the wolverine's body it is sometimes called a skunk bear. It is neither a skunk nor a bear but it is a relative of the skunk.

    Native Americans called it carcajou, a French corruption of an Native American word meaning Evil Spirit or Mountain Devil. The Wolverine is neither a spirit or devil.

    Like skunks, Wolverines have a scent gland which produces a strong musky odor. They use this to mark their territory and not as a defense measure. Their defense is to attack you with their sharp claws and teeth. Typically, Wolverines drive animals away from food by baring teeth, raising hair on their back, sticking up their bushy tail, and making a low growl.

    The wolverine is noted for its strength, cunning, fearlessness, and voracity. It may follow traplines to cabins and devour food stocks or carry off portable items; its offensive odour permeates the invaded cabin. The wolverine is a solitary, nocturnal hunter, preying on all manner of game and not hesitating to attack sheep, deer, or small bears. No animal except humans hunts the wolverine. Its fur is valued as trimming for parkas because frost and frozen breath can easily be brushed off the smooth hairs. Solitary during most of the year, the wolverine has a short courtship in February or March. A litter contains one to five young; the female's gestation period is about nine months.

    Wolverines are now considered an endangered animal due to the destruction of their habitat and over hunting by fur traders. Ranchers also kill wolverines due to the threat they possess towards livestock.

    Wolverines and Native Americans

    Native Americans believed the Wolverine to possess magical powers. Wolverine's were consdiered:

    • Last phantom of the wilderness
    • Master of the Forest
    • Trickster hero
    • Magical link between the material and the spirit worlds
    They praised the Wolverine for the following traits:
    • Standing your ground
    • Fierceness
    • Elusiveness
    • Cleverness
    • Strength
    • Endurance
    • Courage
    Some intersting Facts about Wolverines

    • If a wolverine was the size of a bear, it would be the strongest animal on Earth.
    • The wolverine's jaws are strong enough to crush bones.
    • Wolverines are capable of bringing down deer or caribou.
    • A cougar will back away if it is challenged for a carcass by a wolverine.
    • Wolverines are known among trappers for stealing food while fox or mink get caught.
    • Wolverines are strong enough to drag an animal carcass three times their own weight for some distance.
    • A wolverine's keen nose can smell food under snow.
    • Wolverines have been reported to drive packs of wolves from their kills.

    Places to go for more information:

  • The Wolverine Foundation
  • Wonderful World of Woverines
  • Extirpated Mammals: Wolverine
    Tears of the Wolverine
    by Faizal Mansor

    Carcajou--

    By the native tongue,
    Of a beast so named,
    That fears no one

    Kee-waa-har-kee

    As it also called,
    At the northest place,
    At the snowy top

    Raised high,

    On the totem pole,
    By the people who knows,
    The story as told

    Of a gluttonous beast,

    That would not sleep,
    Constant hunger,
    Neverending feed

    Hated by some,

    Feared by all,
    A restless spirit,
    A tireless soul

    Though terror and mayhem,

    Are often blamed,
    By this wolverine,
    As it's also named

    Just a creature,

    Like any of us,
    Trying to make it,
    To live--
    To survive.