The Wolverine is not just a Marvel superhero, it is an incredible wild animal that has rarely been sighted in Montana – even by the people who live close to its habitats. This is despite it being the official animal of the state and the mascot of the local University of Michigan sports teams. So, this footage of a wolverine hunting a deer is exceptionally rare. No wonder it has already been viewed by over six million people.
According to the video notes, there are less than 250 wolverines in this area of the Ajax Mountain in Montana so spotting one at all is an achievement. Spotting one hunting is even more remarkable and capturing one swimming after a deer is exceptional. We are all privileged to view this!
Wolverine Habitats and Behavior
Let’s start by making it clear that wolverines are not wolves! They are medium-sized animals that weigh up to around 60 pounds and look a little like small bears. However, they are more closely related to the weasel. You may also see them called skunk bear, Indian devil, and carcajou. It is their ability to release a strong-smelling chemical when they feel threatened that has earned them the name – skunk bear! They live in the cooler regions of the
Northern Hemisphere including parts of Eurasia, Europe and North America. Each wolverine lives alone and will only tolerate others of the same species during mating. Each wolverine needs their own territory where they wander for miles each day looking for food. A typical male wolverine territory covers 200 to 400 square miles but a female’s is only around 130 square miles.
Wolverines Hunting for Prey
Wolverines have been described as aggressive carnivores (they are an apex predator) so they must eat meat to survive and adopt aggressive hunting strategies to get hold of it! However, they will also eat berries and plants and will change their diet to suit what food is available so they are actually omnivores. When it comes to animal protein, wolverines will catch smaller mammals (typically rabbits) and rodents and will happily eat carrion that has been caught by other animals.
However, their reputation for aggression stems from the fact that they will take down animals that are much larger than they are – including deer as we see in this vid. Their method is to bite the neck of the animal and sever the tendons and crush the throat so that the prey cannot breathe. As we see here, things do not always go according to plan. Wolverines would usually only take on an adult deer if it was sick, old, or stuck in some snow. In this vid, the target is probably the calf and when the mom deer confronts the wolverine we see it back away. It is intelligent enough to know when it is beaten!
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