The Wolverine: An Animal Shrouded in Mystery

Wolverines are one of the most elusive animals in the Boreal forests of Northwestern Ontario. They are also the most voracious. While it is highly unlikely you'll see one if you visit here, if you do, it's best to keep your distance.

While seldom seen, wolverines are found in most regions of the Boreal forest of Northwestern Ontario, and they are mysterious and amazing animals. With large carnivorous teeth, long, sharp claws, and a really bad attitude, wolverines are not an animal you want to mess with. Here are 5 interesting facts about this elusive and voracious predator.

Woverine during the height of summer

1. Wolverines Punch Well Above Their Weight

With a weight ranging between 25 to 45 pounds (about the same as a medium-sized dog) wolverines have no problem chasing much larger predators such as bears, mountain lions and wolves off their kills. The bears, mountain lions and wolves know that tangling with a wolverine's teeth, claws, and vicious demeanour is not worth the trouble—or the pain—so they usually give up their carcass to the intruder.

Wolverine eating

2. Wolverines Are Referred To As "The Glutton"

Because of their viciousness, aggressive attitude and voracious appetite, wolverines have earned their nickname "The Glutton." These animals will eat virtually anything, completely strip a carcass clean and even overeat. Overeating is an adaptation that helps them survive in their wilderness environment and wolverines are never not on the lookout for food, leading to their gluttonous reputation.

Wolveriens have been nicknamed Gluttons

3. Wolverines Can Be Found on Three Continents

Wolverines are not only found in Ontario's Sunset Country, in North America, they range across much of Northern Canada, parts of the USA, in northern Russia and especially Siberia in Asia, and in Northern Europe in countries like Norway, Sweden and Finland. Here's a map showing their range.

Wolveriens range across North Ameria, Europe and Asia

4. Wolverines Eat Anything

There aren't many things a wolverine will refuse to eat. In addition to carrion (they are primarily scavengers), wolverines eat small mammals like rodents, rabbits, birds, bird eggs, insects, fish and even berries and roots. In general, wolverines are opportunists, eating anything they come across and are known for creating "caches" of food to return to in winter when food is scarce. Here is a video showing a wolverine raiding a bird's nest and eating the eggs.

A wolverine will eat almost anything

5. Wolverines Are Solitary Animals

One of the reasons wolverines are seldom seen in the wild is due to their solitary nature. Individual animals establish territories they will vigorously defend against intruders. During mating season, males and females come into contact but only to mate, then the female goes off on her own and raises the young known as kits. Wolverines are not known to form family groups and come into contact with other wolverines only during breeding or when one animal crosses into another's territory.

Wolverines are solitary animals

Additional Resources

Natural Resources Canada's Status Report on Wolverines

Alaska Fish and Wildlife's Wolverines: Behind the Myth

About Gerry Cariou

Gerry is Executive Director of Ontario's Sunset Country Travel Association and is an avid fisherman and nature photographer. Gerry has been writing about Sunset Country's varied travel experiences for over 20 years and lives these experiences year-round in Kenora, Ontario.

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