Elusive and unique, did you know that there are wolverines in Yellowstone National Park? When it comes to learning more about this carnivorous weasel, you can find plenty of information in Yellowstone. But is it possible to see one of these secretive creatures in the wild of this notorious National Park?
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the wolverine, including whether or not it is commonly seen in Yellowstone National Park. We will also go over what this particular animal enjoys eating, the time of year they typically mate, and what you can expect from this animal in Yellowstone, depending on the time of year. Let’s get started and talk about the wolverine now!
Key Information About Wolverines in Yellowstone National Park
|Yellowstone National Park||Wolverine Facts|
|Number in the Park||A dozen or fewer|
|Average Size||12-30 pounds; 40-50 inches long|
|Mating Season||April through October, with pups born in winter|
|Diet||Rodents, birds, vegetation, beavers, eggs|
|Active Times||Throughout the day, though often unseen|
|Best Viewing Locations||Rarely, if ever, seen|
How Many Wolverines Live in Yellowstone National Park?
The wolverine population in Yellowstone is exceedingly unknown for a number of reasons. There have been no concrete studies or observations performed on the wolverine population in the greater Yellowstone area since 2009. At that point in time, there were 7 recorded wolverines in Yellowstone National Park and some surrounding forests.
The difficulties of observing wolverines in the wild come from their solitary and reclusive natures. These carnivores are rarely seen in the United States and beyond, and the wolverine population in the US is very small. Wolverines are more prevalent in Canada, but the Yellowstone wolverines are slowly creating new statistics for themselves. In fact, there has been a wolverine in Colorado for the first time in 90 years due to the Yellowstone wolverine population migrating into the state!
However, the population of wolverines in this beautiful National Park is extremely small. Seven has been the largest number of wolverines observed at one time, through remote tracking and trapping research. Otherwise, there’s no telling just how many or how few wolverines there are in Yellowstone National Park!
How Large are Wolverines in Yellowstone National Park?
Wolverines range in size from 12-30 pounds, and reach lengths of 40-50 inches long, depending on gender. While wolverines are largely considered carnivores, they have proven to be fairly opportunistic eaters as well. For example, they eat birds, rodents, eggs, beavers, and vegetation, depending on the season, along with bugs.
While this likely won’t happen to you during your visit to Yellowstone National Park, you should always maintain a distance of 100 yards or greater from any carnivore found in the park. While wolverines aren’t as large and frightening as wolves, you should still maintain a large amount of space between yourself and a wolverine!
When are Wolverines Most Active in Yellowstone National Park?
Wolverines are active during all times of day in Yellowstone National Park, as well as some nocturnal hours. However, all of this is based on studies performed in the early 2000’s, alongside research performed in other locations around the world. Given the fact that wolverines are very solitary creatures, the time of day in which they are most active likely won’t affect your visit.
The only time that wolverines meet up with one another is during the months of April through October. This is the average breeding season for the wolverine, and this is one of the only times in which they interact with one another. Pups are born in litters of 2-4, and the average baby wolverine is born sometime during the winter season, in dens built out of snow.
Where Can I View Wolverines in Yellowstone National Park?
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will view any wolverines in Yellowstone National Park. This is likely due to the fact that they are solitary creatures, as well as their population being particularly low at this point in time. There are a number of fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities for you to check out while you enjoy Yellowstone, but wolverines are unlikely to be one of those animals.
However, if you think you’re going to get lucky, your best shot of viewing a wolverine has to be along the northern ridge of Yellowstone National Park. This area attracts a number of carnivores, including wolves, bears, and cougars. While wolverines will be located deep within the woods in dens and other secluded pockets of the park, you may stumble upon one if you are a backpacker or deep woods hiker.
Again, given the unlikeliness of this happening, you shouldn’t get your hopes up when it comes to seeing a wolverine on your visit to Yellowstone National Park. However, there is an abundance of natural beauty to explore throughout the year, and plenty of other wildlife to make up for the shy wolverine!
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