What Does a Wolverine Eat?

wolverine-eat Credit: Spencer Wright/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Wolverines are powerful hunters and scavengers, feeding mainly on small- and medium-sized mammals. Staples in their diet include beavers, rodents, rabbits, small bears and sheep. They also feed on the dead bodies of large mammals like elk and caribou.

In the summer, wolverines eat berries and fruit in addition to their regular diets. They eat birds, bird eggs and insect larvae when necessary. Wolverines prey on animals that are easy to target, such as baby mammals, trapped animals and animals weakened by the winter. A significant amount of their diet is dead, decaying flesh. They often eat the remainders of another predator's kill, or they take it outright. It is common for them to feast on the scraps left by wolves. For this reason, declining wolf populations directly affect the feeding habits of wolverines.

Wolverines are known for their gluttonous eating style, which scientists believe is attributed to a lack of food in the winter. They have sharp claws and a strong jaw that is capable of chewing even the teeth and bones of their prey. Their keen sense of smell allows them to scavenge for carrion buried as much as 20 feet of snow. Wolverines sleep during the day and hunt and forage alone at night.