Other Mammals - Sounds Wild


Download Episode: Wolverines (MP3 file 3,514 kB)



It's chicken day at the Alaska zoo, and the wolverines are excited. One wolverine isn't happy when another starts watching her eat, and hisses like an angry cat. But he's got his own chicken and he's not interested in taking her bird away. Fish and Game researchers Howard Golden and Mike Harrington are studying wolverines, and said despite their reputation as antisocial loners, wolverines can be pretty tolerant of each other if there's no competition for food. They've seen wolverines in the wild playing, and watched them long enough to see they're socializing, not fighting.

Wolverines are scavengers. They've got a really good nose, they can smell food over long distances or buried deep under the snow. But they're also very opportunistic and kill small game. Ground squirrels and marmots are important prey items, as are snowshoe hares and voles. In coastal areas wolverines eat the eggs of ground nesting birds like oystercatchers and gulls.

Wolverines are very strong for their size and have incredible stamina. Golden and Harrington tracked 15 wolverines and said a wolverine can cover 30 miles in a night in search of food, although about eight miles a day was average for females and a bit more for males, up to about 12 miles a day. They are excellent climbers and traverse incredibly rugged mountainous terrain, quickly climbing steep, icy slopes.