Wild Animals/Wolverine behavior



I was at the Columbus Zoo earlier today, and their wolverine was out and active, and it was a bit unusual in his behavior. He had a corner of his exhibit that he was fixated on, and was jumping up and down in that corner. He'd jump for about five minutes, stop and pant, and then resume jumping. He kept this up for probably about 20 minutes before I found a docent to ask, but she didn't know what the behavior might possibly be.

It wasn't near any access doors (I thought perhaps he knew it was feeding time, or something similar), and I didn't see anything in the landscaping around his exhibit that would strike his interest (like rabbits, birds or such). He did stop at one point to run around the perimeter, but he came right back to that spot to resume jumping. It was so weird, but I've not found anything explaining why he was doing this (the docent did confirm that it was a male, if that might help any).

Thank you so much for your time,

Dear Amanda,

Sometimes an intelligent animal in captivity who is bored will engage in repetitive, neurotic behaviors to alleviate the boredom.  To tell you the truth, this is what the wolverine's behavior sounds like to me.  :(

Sounds as if the poor little guy could use some environmental enrichment.


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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.


I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

House Rabbit Society

Exotic DVM journal

I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

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