Wolverines sometimes are referred to as “skunk bears” due to their resemblance to both creatures. Neither a bear nor a skunk, wolverines actually are a member of the weasel family. Sadly, the number of these creatures is less than 300 in the lower 48 states of the US. While small in number, they are a fairly large size and a creature you don't want to approach in the wild.
The female wolverine is 30 to 40 percent smaller than the male, with a height of 14 inches, a weight of 15 to 30 pounds and a length of roughly 31 inches. Males can stand 16 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh 25 to 55 pounds with a length up to 44 inches. Some male wolverines have been known to exceed 70 pounds.
The wolverine is a breathtaking animal to behold, featuring small, black eyes and rounded ears. The true magnificence of the animal is its fur. Not only is its brown fur long and bushy, but the wolverine has a lighter colored ring that goes around its face, down the chest and along the sides of the animal. This characteristic gives the animal a skunk-like appearance. Wolverines also have short legs and muscular bodies, along with wide-feet that help them navigate through snowy climates.
Wolverines enjoy traveling long distances and aren't the type to take the easy way out, usually climbing over mountains than going around. Known to travel up to 15 miles per day in search of food, the wolverine mostly eats dead animals, but also take down small animals, such as squirrels and hares. In some cases, the animal will take down large prey that appears to be weakened due to age or injury. The animal also is known to munch on berries and other vegetation. Though solitary animals, wolverines come together to breed May through August, with birth resulting in 2 to 3 offspring.
Wolverines can be found in much colder climates, such as those found in Northern Europe, upper North America and Northern Asia. While once hunted for their fur, wolverines now are protected in many areas, which has allowed their numbers to grow in climates that are best-suited for the animal.
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Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.