Wolverine (Gulo gulo)

The wolverine (Gulo gulo) is our largest representative of the weasel family. The future of the wolverine depends on the success of other large carnivores, especially the wolf, because the wolverine is primarily a scavenger. It prefers to look for something to eat rather than something to hunt.

The wolverine's Latin and Finnish names are derived from its feeding habits: Gulo and ahma both mean "glutton". When the wolverine finds something to eat, it devours it quickly swallowing even the larger chunks of meat whole. As a predator the wolverine is a little clumsy, but in the right snow conditions the wolverine can kill several reindeer in quick succession. This is typical weasel behaviour: they kill animals for storage, so to speak.

A close-up of a wolverine on a tree trunk. Nails grabbing the bark of a tree. Wolverine. Photo: Kimmo Pöri

Description of the wolverine

The wolverine is a stocky predator. Its paw print features five toes while lynx and wolf tracks only show the impressions of four toes.

Wolverine tracks

The wolverine moves in a unique manner, which leaves behind tracks that stand out because of their shape and large size. The wolverine moves either by jumping, which creates paired tracks, or by galloping, which leaves a slanted line where the impressions appear in threes. The wolverine's paw print ...