wolverine or glutton, largest member of the weasel family, Gulo gulo, found in the northern parts of North America and Eurasia, usually in high mountains near the timberline or in tundra. It is a heavy, short-legged animal, somewhat bearlike in appearance, 3 to 31/2 ft (91–106 cm) long, including the 8-in. (20-cm) tail, and weighing 35 to 60 lb (16–27 kg). The tail is bushy and the paws large, with heavy claws. The long, dark brown fur is banded on the flank with chestnut or yellowish white. Extremely strong and fierce, the wolverine hunts a wide variety of animals, and will drive animals larger than itself away from a kill. It has been known to attack nearly every animal except humans. It robs traps of bait and victims and steals food supplies in camps; however, its reputation for gluttony is exaggerated. Its fur does not hold moisture and for this reason is highly prized by the Eskimos as a frost-proof trim for hoods and cuffs. Wolverines are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Mustelidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.