Questions

Why were wolverines hunted?

How are wolverines able to live in cold climates?

Is it a good thing or bad thing that wolverines are making a comeback?  Why?

Wolverines seen at Mount Rainier for the First Time in a Century

The animal you see here is a wolverine. Wolverines have very thick fur, which keeps them warm.

They live in cold places such as Northern Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe and a part of Russia called Siberia.

Wolverines once lived in much of the Western U.S. and even in some eastern states. But hunters killed many of them in the 1700s and 1800s. They did this because that wanted to use their fur for coats.

Wolverine

Bear

Wolverines might look like small bears. But, in fact, they are mustelids — MUSS-teh-lidz. This means they are related to weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, and other mustelids.

Wolverines are about as big as a medium-sized dog, and weigh about 20 to 55 pounds. Here you see a wolverine skeleton.

Their thick fur is waterproof and helps them stay dry in cold climates. Wolverines also have sharp claws, and they can crush bones in their sharp teeth and strong jaws. This makes them fierce predators. A predator is an animal that hunts and kills other animals for food.

Text adapted with permission from NewsCurrents (©2020, Knowledge Unlimited, Inc. All rights reserved)

Wolverines have been known to kill moose, sheep, elk, and other huge animals. This might be why their scientific name is Gulo gulo. The Latin word “gulo” means glutton, or someone who eats way too much.

Wolverines have a great sense of smell. They can find a dead animal buried under 20 feet of snow, which becomes a good meal for them.

Wolverines also like to move around a lot. Some of them travel 30 to 40 miles in a single day.

 For the last century, there have been hardly any wolverines in the U.S. at all. A century is 100 years!  In the last few years, however, they have been making a comeback! Recently, a mother wolverine and her two babies, called kits, were spotted in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.

This was the first wolverine sighting there in over 100 years. Experts believe this is a sign that wolverines may be returning to the areas in the U.S. they once called home. Experts believe this could mean conservation efforts are working and the wolverine population in the U.S. is on the rise.

Text adapted with permission from NewsCurrents (©2020, Knowledge Unlimited, Inc. All rights reserved)

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