The wolverine is possibly the least known of the northern hemisphere’s large carnivores (2). Individuals are solitary, except for mothers with their young, and can occupy enormous home ranges depending on habitat and prey availability. Male’s home ranges may encompass those of several females, and the largest have been estimated at around 920 square kilometeres (3). Wolverines tend to alternate periods of activity and sleep throughout the day and night, when awake they are capable of crossing vast distances, climbing trees and swimming rivers (3). Mating occurs from April to August and births take place the following spring, usually within a den or sheltered area appropriated by the mother (4). Litters typically contain two to three cubs, which are born blind and with white fur. Weaned after nine to ten weeks, cubs often stay with their mother for over a year and females are therefore likely to reproduce only every couple of years (4).
Wolverines are reputed to have a voracious appetite and are even known as the ‘glutton’ in some areas (3). They do not hibernate over the cold winter months as some other carnivores do and are opportunistic scavengers, often feeding on carrion (3). The diet varies across their range with wolverines in Scandinavia feeding on wild and domestic reindeer (4), and those in Alaska consuming whale and seal carcases (3). Food may be stored for later consumption but wolverines also actively attack some prey, especially smaller mammals such as domestic sheep (4).