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February 21, 2020 - Smithsonian

Beasts of the Northern Wild

Beasts of the Northern Wild
Wilbur W. WolverineFile Photo / © Photabulous!

Scientists brave the deep snows and frigid cold of arctic Alaska to study the furtive and ferocious wolverine.

No creature of the Far North is less beloved than the wolverine. It has none of the polar bear’s soulfulness, or the snowy owl’s spooky majesty, or even the dewy white fairy-tale mischievousness of the Arctic fox. The wolverine is best known for unpleasantness. This dog-size weasel, which grows to about 30 pounds, has daggerlike claws and jaws strong enough to tear apart a frozen moose carcass. It will eat anything, including teeth. (Its scientific name is Gulo gulo, from the Latin for “glutton.”) In some cultures it’s known as a “skunk bear,” for the odious anal secretion it uses to mark its territory.

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