- Stocky, muscular animal with short legs, broad and rounded head, and small eyes with short rounded ears
- Pelage consists of underfur and guard hair which is thick, dark and glossy. Some individuals display prominent white hair patches on the throat or chest
- Average length of an adult is approximately 63–99 cm (25–39 in), including the tail
- Tail length averages 30–36 cm (12–14 in) and is quite bushy
- The wolverine has a discernible light colored “mask” across the forehead and around the eyes
- A distinguishing characteristic of the wolverine would be the lateral stripe of blond or buff-colored pelage that runs from each shoulder along the animal’s side and meets at the base of the tail
Characteristics of a Wolverine Print:
Following are the range of measurements for adult female and adult male wolverines, respectively (excluding toenails):
Right hind foot:
Length: 14.5 cm (5.7 in) to 18.7 cm (7.4 in)
Width: 6 cm (2.4 in) to 8.7 cm (3.4 in)
Right Front foot:
Length: 11 cm (4.3 in) to 13.7 cm (5.4 in)
Width: 6 cm (2.4 in) to 9.1 cm (3.6 in)
The first drawing above shows the front and back foot, but a wolverine’s foot, and the imprint a wolverine makes in the snow or mud is significantly different in appearance than what one views by looking at the sole of the foot. When a wolverine presses its foot to the ground, the toes spread considerably, often approaching twice the width of the foot itself, as demonstrated in the second print above. In addition, under compression the spreading of the toes changes the overall shape of the track to a look more triangular in appearance as can be seen in the far right image below.
The wolverine commonly uses 2 modes of travel, which are evident in its tracks. The 2-2 pattern (a), which is similar in shape to the track pattern of an American marten, is most commonly used in deep snow or when running. The 1-2-1 pattern (b., c., and d.) presents an offset track appearance, which is considered diagnostic for wolverine, and represents the more common travelling gate.