November 2012: The myriad wildlife species that form Earth’s web of life are often underestimated, remaining in the shadows and under the radar of conservation efforts. Sanctuary brings these animals to the fore, showcasing these little-known facts that are amazing, but true!
Did you know that the wolverine, also known as the American glutton, carcajou and skunk bear, is the largest member of the weasel family? Despite its name, it is not related to wolves. It is a fierce and strong predator, and more closely resembles a bear than other weasel species. It has small eyes, short and round ears, a broad head and thick dark brown glossy fur. It is known to be extremely powerful for its size and has short legs with wide feet evolved for walking around its snow-clad habitat.
It is known for scavenging dead animals during winter when other prey is scarce, and often digs into burrows of hibernating mammals. It also feeds on small rodents and animals many times its size, such as caribou. It has a special upper molar which helps it bite through frozen meat and bone. It is solitary (which means it prefers to be alone), except while mating or when mothers are caring for their young. It can travel huge distances in search of food and requires huge amounts of open space. It is found in dens made of snow, rocks and boulders in the taiga, tundra and boreal forests in North America, Europe and Asia and can live from seven to 12 years in the wild.
First appeared in: Sanctuary Cub, November 2012