Wolf vs Wolverine: Difference and Comparison

The terms wolf and wolverine sound quite similar, and we might think they would be closely related, but no, there are so many differences between them.

Though wolf and wolverine belong to the same order, 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. Wolves are a species of canine known for their social behavior, hunting abilities, and howling communication.
  2. Wolverines are a species of weasel known for their ferocity, strength, and scavenging habits.
  3. While both animals have some similarities in habitat and behavior, their physical characteristics and ecological roles differ.

Wolf vs Wolverine

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

Wolf vs Wolverine

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 that 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 a few female wolverines.

Comparison Table

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 40 inches to 65 inches in length and is taller than a wolverine.A wolverine is 25 inches to 35 inches in length and is shorter in comparison to a wolf.
Body weightA wolf weighs around 40 to 175 pounds, thus heavier than a wolverine.A wolverine weighs around 20 to 55 pounds and is lighter than a wolf.
Eating habitsA wolf is a predator who hunts animals like deer, caribous, wild goats, 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 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.

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They are 40 inches to 65 inches long and 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 with 7 to 10 members. They are fast and chase their prey unless the prey surrenders with no strength left to escape.

They hunt animals like deer, goats, sheep, elk, caribou, badgers, etc., but they also sometimes have berries and fruits such as apples and melons.

They give birth to 5 to 6 young ones at a time, and their pregnancy lasts 60 to 75 days.

They are found in 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 than wolves.

They are 25 to 35 inches long and 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 small bears.

Wolverines do not live in a group and rarely hunt other animals. They feed on the leftovers of other animals, which means they are scavengers and steal food.

They prefer to eat smaller animals like porcupines, rabbits, voles, marmots, etc.; 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.

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They inhabit boreal forests, and subarctic tundra is 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. In contrast, a male wolverine forms a relationship with a 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 than wolves.
  5. Wolves can be found in forests and cold places, while wolverines are found in cold areas.
Difference Between Wolf and Wolverine
  1. https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/27330
  2. https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjz-2013-0022

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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