Today's animal of the day is the wolverine, an opportunistic scavenger and a member of the weasel family.
The wolverine is one of the largest mammalian carnivores, measuring between 31 and 44 inches. Its habitat includes boreal forests, snowy mountains, and tundra of Northern Europe and North America. Unfortunately, the wolverine is extinct from much of the Appalachians in the southeastern United States.
The wolverine is a carnivorous animal, feeding on fish, rodents, and other small prey. However, it can eat a bit of vegetation during summer. Although it preys on small animals, the wolverine is invariably blamed for attacks on larger, weak, or sick animals inflicted by predators such as wolves, coyotes, and bears. This opportunistic scavenger also feeds on carrion belonging to caribou, deer, and other larger animals. The wolverine inhabits a wide variety of climates, though it prefers a cold environment with access to water and snow.
Cool Facts About the Wolverine
- It is the largest weasel in North America and is the largest land-dwelling mustelid in the world.
- Even though it is uncomfortable in snow due to its furry body, it can dive into a snowbank and hide for hours. Besides, females den in this snow to give birth.
- The wolverine is a scavenger, often following wolf packs and coyotes searching for dead animals to eat.
- It is the only known mammal that eats prey from its own species, which is why a wolverine can and will kill another wolverine.
- It has long claws to kill moose, caribou, muskox, and reindeer. It also preys on squirrels, porcupines, and small to medium-sized rodents, especially beavers.
- The wolverine is listed as an endangered animal by the American and Canadian authorities.
- Wolverines are solitary animals, though they sometimes meet in communal dens to socialize and breed.