The Wolverine

Thinking of animals, what's the largest member of the weasel family?

And the answer: the wolverine.    

Members of the weasel family are called mustelids, and they have long tube-shaped bodies, short legs, and strong thick necks with small heads. With their brown fur, big claws, and muscular bodies, wolverines are often mistaken for bears, but they're actually large weasels. Other members of the weasel family include otters, ferrets, and badgers.

Photo credit: public domain. 

Though they might belong to the weasel family, wolverines are fierce creatures. Known to take down animals like caribou, moose and even grizzly bears — animals which are all over 20 times their size — wolverines have adapted to extremely cold climates and take prey where it can be found. Wolverine paws even expand in size with each step they take, spreading their weight across the snow incredibly well and allowing for increased mobility. Meanwhile, the non-retractable claws on each paw allow them to scale cliffs and peaks. All that said, it's clear to see why a superhero name came from these creatures.

Nicknamed the "Hyenas of the North," wolverines are also evolutionarily equipped with strong senses of smell and extremely sharp teeth. These two features allow them to scavenge under the snow during the winter months and to consume frozen meat. Meanwhile, wolverines are always on the move. They travel long distances in search of food, sometimes as far as 15 miles in one day.

Learn more about the hunting practices and life of wolverines below.

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