Difference Between Wolf and Wolverine (With Table)

The terms wolf and wolverine sound quite similar and we might think that they would be closely related but no, there are so many differences between the two. Though wolf and wolverine belong to the same order that is Carnivora, they belong to different families. Wolves are the largest animals of their family Canidae and Wolverines are the largest animals of their family Mustelidae.

Wolf vs Wolverine

The difference between wolf and wolverine is that a wolf belongs to the dog family that is Canidae while a wolverine belongs to the weasel family. There are so many differences between the two in terms of structure, height, morphological features, eating habits, social behavior and so much more. The common thing between the two animals is that they are mammals and are carnivorous.

A wolf looks more like a dog though it is more fierce and violent while a wolverine looks more like a short-statured bear. A wolf is a social animal and it lives in a pack while a wolverine is a solitary animal and prefers living alone. Wolves hunt and eat, that is they are a predator while wolverines eat the leftovers of the larger and wilder animals, that is they are scavengers. Moreover, wolves make a single partner for a lifetime while male wolverines form a relationship for a lifetime with few female wolverines.

Comparison Table Between Wolf and Wolverine

Parameters of Comparison WolfWolverine
FamilyWolves belong to the family Candidate.Wolverines belong to the family Mustelidae.
StrengthWolves are stronger and more fierce than wolverines.They are not as strong as wolves and they fear wolves.
Gestation period / pregnancy periodTheir pregnancy lasts for 60 to 75 days.Their pregnancy lasts for 30 to 50 days
Body lengthA wolf is generally 40 inches to 65 inches in length and is taller than a wolverine.A wolverine is usually 25 inches to 35 inches in length and is shorter in comparison to a wolf.
Body weightA wolf weighs around 40 pounds to 175 pounds and is thus heavier than a wolverine.A wolverine weighs around 20 pounds to 55 pounds and is lighter than a wolf.
Eating habitsA wolf is a predator and generally hunts animals like deer, caribous, wild goats, wild sheep, elk, etc.A wolverine is a facultative scavenger which means it is a scavenger but if it does not get leftover food, it can also kill and eat. They generally have smaller animals like porcupines, rabbits, beavers, etc. 
Morphological featuresWolves are tall, having long legs, large heads, small ears, and large bushy tails.Wolverines are short, bear-like with short legs, short tails, and oily fur.

What is Wolf?

A wolf belongs to the dog family, Canidae, and is somewhat similar to a dog in appearance. They are generally 40 inches to 65 inches in length and are 40 pounds to 175 pounds in weight with a large head, tall body, small ears, long legs, and long bushy tails. They have dense fur ranging from grey to black.

They live and hunt in a pack which usually contains 7 to 10 members. They are fast and they chase their prey unless the prey surrenders with no strength left in it to escape. They usually hunt animals like deer, goats, sheep, elk, caribou, badgers, etc. but they also have berries and fruits such as apples and melons sometimes.

They usually give birth to 5 to 6 young ones at a time and their pregnancy lasts for 60 to 75 days. They are found in places like North America, North Africa, Eurasia, etc. They don’t attack each other and are strong animals. They may even prey on a wolverine.

What is Wolverine?

Wolverines belong to the family Mustelidae and are smaller and weaker compared to wolves. They are 25 to 35 inches in length and are 20 to 55 pounds in weight with a rounded head, small eyes, short legs, large paws, and short tails. They have thick oily fur and resemble a small bear.

Wolverines do not live in a group and they rarely hunt other animals. They feed on the leftovers of other animals which means they are scavengers and they often steal food. They prefer to eat smaller animals like porcupines, rabbits, voles, marmots, etc. and sometimes they have larger animals like caribou, elk, deer, etc.

After a gestation period of 30 to 50 days, they produce 2-3 young ones. The father takes care of the young ones for 2-3 months. They inhabit boreal forests and subarctic tundra are usually found in cold areas like Alaska, Scandinavia, Siberia, Canada, Russia, Mongolia, etc.

Main Differences Between Wolf and Wolverine

  1. Wolves belong to the family Canidae while wolverines belong to the family Mustelidae.
  2. Wolves are social animals and thus live and hunt in a group while wolverines are solitary animals.
  3. A male wolf stays with a single female wolf for a lifetime while a male wolverine forms a relationship with few female wolverines and visits them regularly during the breeding season.
  4. Wolves are stronger, heavier, faster, and taller than wolverines which are weaker, lighter in weight, slower, and stockier in comparison to wolves.
  5. Wolves can be found in forest areas as well as cold places while wolverines are generally found in cold areas.

Conclusion

Wolves and Wolverines, both are carnivorous animals and both are the largest animals of their families. Their names are similar so one may get confused that they might be closely related to each other but they are different species with a lot of differences. 

Wolves, belonging to the family Canidae are taller, stronger and faster than wolverines and they always live and eat in a group called as a pack. Wolves have distinct morphological characters which are quite different from wolverines. 

Wolverines look somewhat like small bears and they have oily fur and rounded heads. They are usually found in colder places and prefer dead and decayed leftovers to hunt and eat. They are weaker in comparison to wolves and can be killed by them. They do not live in a group and are solitary animals.

References

  1. https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/27330
  2. http://summit.sfu.ca/system/files/iritems1/6062/b15354337.pdf
  3. https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjz-2013-0022
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