This may not be the most relevant question but I'll ask anyways. Has a wolverines bite force ever been measured, and if so, how powerful was it? Way back when in elementary school here in Finland we were told that wolverines have one of the strongest bites of any mammal (not as high as a hyenas, but still high). However, I've heard speculation that it isn't even the highest bite force in mustelidae. That seems pretty hard to believe seeing as it is by far the largest in said family. Anyways, what do you guys think?

I don't think there has been actual recordings taken in living wolverines, but Christiansen & Wroe (2007) estimate bite force for a bunch of mustelids including wolverine (Gulo gulo) using dry skull museum specimens. They approximate muscle sizes from skull dimensions and use lever mechanics to compute bite forces.  According to their estimation, wolverines have one of the highest absolute bite forces in Mustelidae, alongside otters and sea otters. However, this is expected because absolute bite force reflects body size. When normalised for size, then wolverines and otters have average bite forces for their sizes while sea otters have weaker bite forces than expected for animals of that size.  Another peculiar thing is that badgers also seem to have low bite forces for their size.

Mustelids in general have quite interesting adaptations with regards to biting, in that the temporal muscle attachments are elongated towards the back of the skull. This presumably allows for a more backward orientation for the temporal muscle force vector which theoretically would act counter to the movements of struggling prey.  This sort of mechanical performances are irrespective of force generation, or in other words, their muscle arrangements are in such a way that even with lower muscle forces (or bite forces), they can still efficiently catch and handle prey. Remember, bite force is not the only thing to biting.


Christiansen, P. and S. Wroe, 2007. Bite forces and evolutionary adaptations to feeding ecology in carnivores. Ecology 88: 347-358.