Are Wolverines Dangerous? Everything You Need To Know | Kidadl


Are Wolverines Dangerous? Everything You Need To Know

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Did you know that a wolverine is capable of killing a black bear and giving a tough fight to even a grizzly?

Wolverines have always been documented as solitary animals that are known for their aggressive nature. Read till the end to debunk some myths about these wild creatures’ reputation and find out if these predators are truly dangerous.

Wolverines are large carnivores that have been dreaded by both human and animal hunters for years, and there is a lot of stigma and irrational fear about these creatures. These bear-like animals are the largest members of the weasel family and have a bad reputation for stealing game and trapping animals from manually set traps. These small yet tough animals are inhabitants of the coldest regions of the Earth and have no trouble chasing down prey in dense snow due to their large and thick paws.

Due to less research and common stigma, wolverines have a lot of myths built around them. Another reason behind the stigma is that these creatures are very aggressive and short-tempered. They are tiny in size but can easily take down animals twice their size in a fight, and there has been news of cases where a wolverine killed polar bears in the northern mountains. Just search for a story on wolverine attacks and you will find a lot of news videos with wolverines fighting off large animals like polar bears, moose, and even grizzly bears.

These weasel family members have long been perceived as aggressive loners who do not like company and would take down anyone who crossed their path. But that is not the case and most of the myths about them are highly exaggerated without much truth in them.

After reading about the facts on this ground animal from the weasel family and also knowing that does wolverine kill a polar bear in the wild, also check out these interesting facts on dangerous fish and shark dorsal fin.

What does a wolverine look like?

Now that we know how powerful these weasels are, let us take a look at their anatomical structure that facilitates not only their survival but also helps them assert dominance in the cold wildlife of the North. This animal is also known as a 'nasty cat' or 'skunk bear'.

Some of the physical characteristics of wolverines are:

Wolverines are not too big in size and can resemble a bear cub from far away. They are short in size and have an elongated body, which enables them to sneak up on their prey or hide in places to steal food from other predators like wolves and bears.

Wolverines look like both a dog and a bear. The fur around their eyes and forehead is darker than the rest of their body, which appears like a mask. They have elongated snouts like skunks and short legs like bears. They also have a distinct stripe of blonde fur extending from the top of both their shoulders to the bottom of their bodies.

Wolverines have very strong paws with five razor-sharp claws on each paw, and these claws enable them to run swiftly on dense snow, form a grip on frozen water bodies, and climb steep snow-covered mountains and cliffs as well as large trees. The males are larger than the females and mate several times during the mating season, taking care of their young until they are old enough to mate on their own. Wolverines have thick, oily fur that is highly hydrophobic, which means that it helps prevent the wolverines from freezing to death when it gets freezing cold in the winter months.

Wolverines are scavengers by nature; they are omnivores who feed on anything they can find easily in the wild. They prefer eating leftovers and animals that they don’t have to kill themselves, like frozen meat and carcasses.

These nocturnal creatures hunt during the night and aim for smaller animals like rats, squirrels, Arctic foxes, mountain cats, and others that are easy to kill. Wolverines have such a sharp sense of smell that they can pick up the scent of an animal hibernating 20 ft (6 m) below the ground and can follow tracks for several miles. Wolverines also snack on small insects living in the trunks and roots of trees.

Wolverines also feed on berries and roots of different plants, but vegetation only makes up a fraction of their daily diet, and this is because, unlike wolves and other wild animals who need to eat once every few days for survival, wolverines start hunting for food a short while after finishing a meal, as they eat several times a day and have a huge appetite.

Are wolverines aggressive?

Most of the myths that surround wolverines are related to their irrational rage and aggressive nature. Are they truly solitary animals that get angry in the blink of an eye? Read further to find out.

It is true that wolverines are short-tempered animals that can get ferocious when they are hungry, which can be oftentimes a day. They can even resort to violence if they fail to find food for a long time. Wolverines are primarily omnivores and eat pretty much anything they can find, ranging from dead mountain animals and carcasses buried under the snow, to wild berries, small rodents hibernating during the cold, moose in the forest, or fish in the lakes.

Wolverines have been known to break down entire cabins in a rage without any apparent cause. Old anecdotes suggest that wolverines are ferocious demonic creatures that have no empathy and like to remain isolated, but recently published studies have suggested that it is not true; wolverines are short-tempered, but they are highly social animals and love to stay with the likes of their own. Unlike other weasel species, these published studies have also revealed that they take care of their young ones and protect them from being killed by other males.

Wolverines are more smart than aggressive and generally resort to engaging in dueling with large animals. They have strong teeth that are primarily designed to bite through frozen meat. Wolverines are scared of wolves and would avoid getting into a direct confrontation with one, but they hide near wolf packs in order to steal their hunting and leftovers, and in doing so, they put themselves at a very high risk of being caught and eaten by the wolf pack.

Wolverines are rare animals that are found deep within the forest. You may never have come across a wolverine and only read about them in fictional stories and movies, but these fascinating animals are not extinct. In fact, they are abundant in nature and their conservation status is Least Concern.

Wolverines are rarely spotted because they live deep in the northern forests of Canada and the Arctic Circle. However, their numbers are rapidly decreasing due to climatic changes and poaching in America. These animals are hunted for their claws and their incredible hydrophobic fur, which makes excellent quality coats and winter wear that are sold at very high prices. People also enjoy hunting for leisure and sports as they are fast and swift and, therefore, are prized possessions among hunters across the world.

As of now, it is legal to hunt them, although environmental activists in the United States have urged the government to protect these animals and add them to the list of Endangered species, as only three hundred of these animals are left in the U.S. Their number is also not increasing very rapidly because of climatic changes that make it difficult for small kits to survive. The gestation period of the female wolverine is long and troublesome, and they are only able to have one or two babies in a year.

Babies of wolverines are known as kits and grow only as big as a dog.

Do wolverines attack humans?

Now that we have understood the nature of these northern animals, you may be curious to know if they are capable of attacking and hunting humans. Wolverines generally like to stay miles away from any direct threat, and they hardly ever initiate a fight with another animal.

Wolverines have been known to exist near human civilizations, but there has never been an attack on a human. Even in close proximity, wolverines are afraid of humans and try to remain hidden away at a distance. However, it is advised to avoid these creatures as much as possible. As for eating, wolverines generally hunt small animals like hibernating rodents, beavers, and Arctic foxes, which can be easily hunted and killed. Other than that, the only large animals' wolverines are known to hunt include small bears, deer, and stag.

Wolverines that live near towns have been known to kill small pets like cats, rabbits, and even small dogs. They are particularly notorious for stealing and killing livestock. Therefore, you must know that if you live in a territory where wild animals reside in close proximity, then leaving out garbage, food, and livestock unattended is not wise.

There are a lot of myths about these creatures, and these are because of their ferocious nature and history of annoying hunters by stealing their game and trapping animals from their traps. Some of the myths that studies have rendered untrue are:

Wolverines Are Isolated Loners: This is the most common myth about wolverines. People believe that wolverines are loners that like to live and hunt alone. While this is true to some extent, it is not completely true. Wolverines do not hang out in large herds or packs like wolves, but they do have a sense of family and generally stay together. The mother takes care of the young ones and feeds them until they are capable of mating and hunting on their own. The wolverine families generally reside in deep underground snow caves, and the male guards the females and children.

Wolverines Are the Strongest and Undefeated Animals in The Northern Forests: While it is true that wolverines are tough creatures and have very high strength according to their size, they are not absolutely undefeated. Wolverines are scared of wolves, and there have been frequent incidents where wolves have killed wolverines. In the winter, wolverines feed off the animals and meat that they steal from wolf packs. Females are more likely to perform this dangerous work than males. They stay hidden in close proximity and search for the right time to steal food, and they are often caught and killed by the wolves. In the warmer months, wolverines gather leftover food and vegetation so that they can survive in the winter months.

Wolverines Are Irrational, Fearless Beasts Of The North: There have been many anecdotes about the wolverine’s rage and how they have proven their strength time and again by defeating animals much larger in size. However, they are not completely irrational or fearless; wolverines are in fact quite intelligent and do not engage in unnecessary fights. Wolverines have, over time, learned to take advantage of human set bait to trap animals and have found a way to steal the meat without getting caught. They are also quite smart at navigating places and routes and can understand and study other animals’ behaviors quite accurately in the wildlife.

Can wolverines kill humans?

Although there have been no wolverine attacks on humans, this does not mean in any way that wolverines are safe to be around. It must be understood that wild animals can easily get triggered and cause harm if you violate their territory. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain a safe distance and avoid any direct contact with any wild animal.

Wolverines have strong limbs and claws that can tear off the flesh of their enemies in a matter of minutes. If a wolverine gets into a fight with a human being, it can kill the human in a matter of minutes. This is because wolverines are strong, fast, and very swift in their attacks. They are intelligent creatures and, over time, have learned to make the best and smartest use of their strength.

If engaged in a fight, the wolverine would attack a major artery first, preferably wounding the neck to draw blood. If the attack is accurate enough, one will die of excessive bleeding within a few minutes, even if the attack is unsuccessful. This happened once when a wolverine was put in the same cage as a polar bear in a zoo, and the wolverine ended up butchering the bear within minutes. However, if you have a weapon, then chances are that the wolverine will run away.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are wolverines dangerous, then why not take a look at are groundhogs dangerous, or wolverine facts.

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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