Wolverine behaviour and reproduction

The wolverine belongs to the sub-set of carnivores that feed on carrion and as a predator it is clumsy when compared to the other large carnivores. The wolverine's hunting practices seem somewhat amateurish. This is why it chooses to prioritise scavenging over hunting when searching for food: the wolverine may travel up to 20–40 km in a single day. In a sense its life consists of continuous exploration. The wolverine has no natural predators, but it will stay away from wolves.

A wolverine stands and observes on a fallen tree trunk. Wolverine. Photo: Antti Leinonen

The wolverine is curious by nature

The wolverine is always peeking into holes and tussocks and it will readily climb a tree for a better vantage point if it senses that something edible is nearby. It is a skilled climber and it will also climb trees when it’s playing or afraid. The wolverine is constantly in motion and it marks the terrain with its faeces, urine and secretions from its anal glands. The wolverine is aware of where its fellow wolverines are moving and knows to avoid confrontations; wolverines do not tolerate the presence of another wolverine of the same sex on their territory.


Reproduction

The mating season for wolverines is in June–July. Similarly to the bear, the wolverine has delayed foetal development. The cubs are finally born into a den dug into snow in March–April. The wolverine births two to four cubs and they follow their mother at least until the following autumn, sometimes even until the next litter is born. If the female wolverine is disturbed at the den, it will move the cubs to a new location.

Diet and hunting behaviour

The wolverine is a carrion feeder. As a predator it is clumsy when compared to our other large carnivores, but in the winter it can still kill several reindeer in quick succession.

Number and distribution of wolverines

The wolverine is met in small numbers in the wilderness areas of Finland's northern and eastern regions. Occasionally, adventurous wolverine specimens will also make their way into the central parts of our country. The wolverine steers clear of populated areas and requires a lot of space.