How to Identify Wolverine Tracks

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Wolverines resemble bears, although they are smaller in size. Living in mountainous woodlands, wolverines hunt a wide variety of mammals, both small and large. Wolverines stay active year-round, living alone and protecting their territory against intruders. When observing tracks in the wilderness, you can identify wolverine tracks by their shape, size and by the pattern of the prints in the soil or snow.

  • Look at the track sequence of the wolverine. Because of the gait of a wolverine as it moves through the wilderness, the most common track sequence shows three prints on the soil or snow (two paws create the middle print as the wolverine moves). Less common but possible, you may find track sequences of four or two prints, depending on how fast the wolverine is moving.

  • Note the size of the prints. Front prints of mature wolverines average between 4 and 5 inches and back prints average between 3 and 4 inches.

  • Count the toes -- wolverine tracks have five toes with claws. High-quality prints will show all five toes, a lesser-quality print may not show the fifth toe and claw. Differentiate between wolverine and lynx tracks because lynx tracks show only four toes without claws. Wolf tracks show four toes with claws.

  • Notice the interdigital pad beneath the toes -- this pad resembles a chevron. Beneath this pad, look for the metacarpal pad at the bottom of the track. This pad is usually visible on the front tracks but not the hind tracks due to the gait of the wolverine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wolverines often travel along the same paths or trails as they hunt for food. Wolverine tracks that cover a large open distance often appear at an angle because the animal crosses the land moving diagonally.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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