Here’s a Riddle:
“What animal is called a skunk bear, but it is not a bear and it is not a skunk?”
a. Raccoon b. Wolverine c. Hyena
Did you guess the wolverine? Then you are right!
Let’s learn some fun facts about the “Skunk Bear.”
How is the Wolverine Like a ‘Skunk Bear?’
The wolverine has patterns of light bands in its black fur. And, like a skunk, it has scent glands. The busy critter marks its territory with a bad order, but does not “spray” for protection. And the wolverine certainly looks like a little bear. It has scruffy fur, big teeth, big paws, and sharp curved claws.
Other Names for the Wolverine
The Wolverine is also called a carajou in French Canada the Arctic Innui people of Quebec give the carajou mythical powers in their creation storytelling.
Native Americans called him a quickhatch, a changeable trickster, clever and cunning.
Our Animal Wolverine is Not…
…a Comic Book and movie Superhero with three long, sharp claws and superpowers.
…the University of Michigan college football team called the Wolverines.
…a Wolf, although wolverine is an old English word for wolf.
Will the Real Wolverine Please Stand Up?
Welcome to the Wolverine family of the Gulo-gulos. That is weasels, badgers, and (yes) otters.
Gulo is from a word that means a glutton, one who stuffs itself with food. And our wolverine is a ‘pig at the trough’ at dinner time. As an omnivore, he will eat berries, eggs, plants, nuts, just about anything. But meat is best, either caught alive or rotting on the carcass.
Did You Know?
- The wolverine is the size of a medium dog
- It has paws like snowshoes and must have a snowy habitat
- Its teeth and jaws are so powerful they can eat bones
- They can smell a dead animal 20 feet under the snow
- The wolverine is always on the move and must have individual rangeland of 600 acres
Where Do I Go to Find a Wolverine?
Put on a thick jacket, gloves, wool hat, snowshoes, and head to the Northern Hemisphere. Check out the mountain forests and the taiga and tundras snow regions of the top half of the world.
But hurry. There are less than 25,000 in the world. They are disappearing fast as warming trends are melting the ice lands of the world.
Wolverines in North America
The wolverine is endangered in the United States. In Canada, the carajou is staging a comeback with programs like the Species of Special Concern in British Columbia. Increased human activity in remote regions has prompted programs like The Canadian Species at Risk Act. These organizations work to increase recognition of the wolverine and prompt legislation to upgrade the extinction status of the wolverine.
Also, there is a call to citizens in Western Canada to report sightings. The Wolverine Watch is a website format for this purpose:
A Vanishing Act
Whatever name you call the Wolverine, you can call this creature ‘vanishing.’
Keep the track prints of the wandering wolverine in the snowpacks of our Northern Hemisphere by:
Being aware, caring, and sharing your information about the Wolverine.
Color your own Skunk Bear with our FREE Wolverine Coloring Page.
Next Conservation Report: “New Zoo-Born Babies!” What rare baby was born to Parents Makena and Mosi? And, “how many people worldwide visit zoos?”