(Gulo gulo)




Facts about this animal

The Wolverine is shaped vaguely like a large, robust marten. They have a head-body length of 70-85 cm. The bushy tail has a length of about 25 cm. Weight can be up to 30 kg, but females are smaller and considerably lighter than males.


Wolverines have a dense, long-haired, dark-brown fur with lighter bands extending from the shoulders to the flanks.


The feet are large for the size of the animal and help them move over deep snow. Like many other martens, wolverines can produce a unpleasant odour from anal musk glands for marking and defense.


Mating season is from May to August with a peak in June. Implantation of the embryos is delayed, most births taking place in February of the following year. Wolverines are slow breeders as average litter size is just 2.2 cubs. The cubs are born blind and weigh about 100 grams at birth. They leave the nest at 9-10 weeks, and are almost independent at 6-7 months.


The wolverine's diet consists of hares, ptarmigans, small rodents, and, depending of snow conditions, reindeer.

Did you know?
That breeding occurs in the summer, but birth, however, does not occur until the following winter/spring? Active gestation is 30-50 days, but because of delayed implantation, full gestation period may last 215-272 days.


Name (Scientific) Gulo gulo
Name (English) Wolverine
Name (French) Glouton
Name (German) Vielfraß
Name (Spanish) Glotón
Local names Finish: Ahma
Norwegian: Jerv
Swedish: Järv
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Canada, China (Heilongjiang, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia), Estonia, Finland, Mongolia, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, and United States (Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and California)
Habitat Forests, mountains, plains, brushlands and tundra
Wild population Unknown, but decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 90 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

Transportation during the warm summer months should be avoided and preferably be delayed to late autumn or winter.


For air transport, Container Note 82 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
U.S. National Park Service

Why do zoos keep this animal

European zoos keep the wolverine, which is a vulnerable species, in the framework of a coordinated ex situ-breeding programme. The species is more common in Scandinavian zoos, many of which display native species only.