The age-old question of who would win in a fight between a wolverine and a moose has fascinated outdoor enthusiasts for generations. With their sharp claws, incredible strength, and ferocious nature, wolverines are some of the toughest predators out there.

Moose, on the other hand, are massive, powerful ungulates that can easily trample smaller creatures. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the moose would likely emerge victorious due to its much larger size and ability to deliver deadly kicks with its hooves.

However, the scrappy wolverine could certainly injure the moose in the process.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll compare the physiology, behaviors, and capabilities of wolverines and moose to determine which would have the best chances of winning in a one-on-one fight.

Size and Weight

Wolverine Size

The wolverine is the largest terrestrial species of the weasel family, but still small compared to other predators. Adult male wolverines typically measure 26 to 42 inches from head to rump, not counting a bushy 8- to 10-inch tail.

Their shoulder height is around 12 to 15 inches and they weigh approximately 18 to 37 pounds.

To compare, this means an average adult male wolverine is about the size of a small to medium-sized dog. Their compact yet stocky build makes them appear even bigger, earning them nicknames like “devil bear”.

Don’t let their relatively small stature fool you though – pound for pound, the wolverine is one of the strongest mammals for its size.

Moose Size

In contrast to the wolverine, moose are the largest members of the deer family and the tallest mammals in North America. Bull (male) moose typically stand 5.6 to 7.5 feet tall at the shoulder, with large palmate antlers spanning 4 to 5 feet.

Cow (female) moose reach 5.2 to 6.5 feet tall at the shoulder. Their body length ranges from 7.5 to 9 feet from nose to tail.

In terms of weight, bull moose average from 800 to 1,400 pounds, with the largest subspecies found in Alaska weighing up to 1,600 pounds. Cow moose weigh in between 500 and 900 pounds on average. To visualize their massive size, the shoulder height of even a cow moose rivals that of a thoroughbred racehorse.

Physical Size Comparison Wolverine Moose
Shoulder Height 12 – 15 inches 5.2 – 7.5 feet
Head + Body Length 26 – 42 inches 7.5 – 9 feet
Average Weight 18 – 37 pounds 500 – 1,600 pounds

As shown above, the moose outweighs its smaller cousin by a ratio of over 15:1. The moose’s towering height and intimidating rack of antlers also give it a substantial physical advantage over the low-slung wolverine.

Strength and Agility

Wolverine Strength

Wolverines are remarkably strong for their small size. They have powerful jaws and sharp claws that help them take down prey much larger than themselves. An adult wolverine can weigh up to 40 lbs, but can take down moose, caribou, and even adult male deer.

Their powerful neck muscles allow them to hang on tenaciously to large prey items. Wolverines have even been known to drive bears away from kills. Their strength and fearlessness enable them to defend carcasses against larger predators.

Moose Strength

Moose are one of the largest and most powerful animals in North America. An adult moose can weigh over 1,000 lbs, with males being larger than females. They have long legs that allow them to wade through deep snow and run at speeds up to 35 mph.

Moose use their massive bodies and sharp hooves as effective weapons. During mating season, male moose become aggressive and clashes between two bulls involve pushing and wrestling with their antlers. They can seriously injure opponents with kicks and blows from their front legs.

With their imposing size and strength, moose do not have many natural predators.

Wolverine Agility

Despite their stocky build, wolverines are remarkably agile animals. They can run up to 15 mph over rough terrain and are excellent climbers. Their broad paws and sharp claws allow them to scale steep cliffs and trees quickly.

Wolverines have been spotted climbing high into mountain forests and snowy peaks in search of food. Their muscular bodies and low center of gravity enable them to perform these gravity-defying feats. A wolverine’s agility allows it to pursue prey in difficult places and evade larger predators when necessary.

Moose Agility

While moose possess great strength, they are not known for agility or speed. Their large size and long legs make them somewhat ungainly. They do not have the ability to climb or jump very high. Moose tend to browse close to the ground and are not adept at rearing up on their hind legs.

They can run fairly fast in short bursts up to 35 mph, but cannot maintain high speeds for very long. In deep snow, their long legs help them stride effectively, but they still sink in and have trouble maneuvering. Overall, the moose relies more on its size and power than agility to avoid predators.

Natural Weapons and Defenses

Wolverine Weapons

Wolverines may be small, but they pack a powerful punch. Their main natural weapons are their incredibly strong jaws, sharp claws, and thick hide.

A wolverine’s jaws can crush bones and shred meat with ease. Their bite force is strong enough to chomp through frozen meat and break open bones to get to the marrow inside. Ouch! You wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of those jaws.

Wolverines also have sharp, curved claws that can grow up to 2 inches long. They use these claws to dig dens, climb trees, and defend themselves. A swipe from those claws could do some serious damage.

Moose Weapons

The moose may look unassuming, but it has some impressive natural weapons. The most obvious is their huge set of antlers.

A male moose’s antlers can span 6 feet from tip to tip! They use their antlers to defend themselves, fight other moose, and plow through snow and brush. Getting hit by those things would be like getting smashed by a tree branch.

Moose can also kick with their front hooves and have been known to seriously injure or even kill predators and people. They won’t attack unprovoked, but they will fiercely defend themselves if need be.

Wolverine Defenses

In addition to their offensive weapons, wolverines have defenses to protect themselves.

They have thick, dense fur that insulates them from cold temperatures. This fur coat makes it hard for predators to bite through to skin.

Wolverines are also incredibly strong and muscular for their size. They use their strength and agility to escape predators.

Their main defense strategy though is simply their ferocity. Not many predators will risk taking on a vicious wolverine!

Moose Defenses

Moose primarily rely on their massive size and intimidating antlers to defend themselves. Weighing up to 1,500 pounds, not many predators can take down an adult moose.

Moose antlers act as both a weapon and deterrent. Predators know those antlers mean business, so they tend to avoid moose during antler season.

If forced to fight, moose can use their antlers and powerful hooves to inflict lethal blows. Most predatorsback off before it gets to that point though.

Moose lack the speed to effectively outrun predators, so standing their ground is their best defense. Given their imposing stature and armament, it’s usually more than enough to come out on top.

Habitats and Behaviors

The wolverine (Gulo gulo) is a stocky and muscular carnivore found primarily in remote boreal forests, tundra, and western mountains in North America. This ferocious animal has a reputation for having a bad attitude and can be very aggressive when threatened.

Though the wolverine ranks among the world’s most rare and elusive mammals, here’s some key information about their habitats and behaviors:


Wolverines inhabit cold, snowy regions across the Northern Hemisphere. In North America, they can be found in Canada, Alaska, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Wolverines prefer areas with deep snow that discourage larger predators, like wolves and bears.

This gives them a distinct advantage in accessing food. They tend to avoid areas with human disturbance.


Wolverines are known for their strength, fearsome reputation and aggression. However, some of their more interesting behaviors include:

  • They have impressive stamina and can travel up to 15 miles per day across rough terrain in search of food.
  • Though small, they have incredible strength and can drag prey twice their weight over long distances back to their dens.
  • Fiercely territorial, they mark large home ranges of 150 to over 600 square miles.
  • They forage and hunt primarily at night as solitary animals.

While reclusive, wolverines will fiercely defend against any threats using their sharp claws, strong jaws and ferocity. This is what earned them their reputation for having a bad attitude! Their behaviors allow them to thrive in cold, snowy mountain habitats.

The moose (Alces alces) is the largest member of the deer family and the tallest mammal found in North America. While most often associated with Canada and Alaska, moose inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests across the Northern Hemisphere.

Here is some information on their habitats and behaviors:


Moose reside across northern forests from about 45° to 60° Latitude where they can find abundant, nutritious vegetation. They live in:

  • Boreal forests with a mix of birch, willow shrubs and conifers across Canada, Alaska, the Upper Midwest and New England.
  • Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests in the upper Great Lakes region.
  • Subalpine mountain forests with wetlands and lakes.

These cold forest ecosystems provide moose with their dietary needs and protection from higher temperatures. Without deep snows, moose are more vulnerable to wolf and bear predation.


Some interesting moose behavioral adaptations include:

  • Being most active during the coolest times – dawn, dusk and night – to avoid heat stress.
  • Spending spring, summer and fall feeding up to 60 pounds of vegetation daily to build reserves for the winter.
  • Migrating short distances between summer and winter ranges.
  • Living somewhat solitary lives coming together mainly just for mating.

With males growing up to 7 feet tall at the shoulder and females 6 feet tall, the moose is well-equipped to thrive and hold their own against predators across cold northern forests.

Documented Encounters Between Wolverines and Moose

Moose Trampling Wolverines

There have been a few documented cases of moose trampling and killing wolverines in the wild. According to a 2003 study, the remains of a young male wolverine were found in March of 2000 near the Denali National Park in Alaska.

The carcass showed clear signs that the wolverine had been trampled and killed by a moose.

Another incident documented in Alaska occurred in 2005 when a moose cow trampled and killed a female wolverine. It appears the wolverine was attempting to raid a moose carcass to feed her kits when the moose returned and attacked in defense of her previous kill.

These cases show that while wolverines are fierce predators, they can still fall victim to the powerful hooves and agitation of a moose.

Wolverines Harassing and Injuring Moose

While less common than moose attacks on wolverines, there have also been a few documented reports of wolverines harassing, injuring, and even contributing to the death of moose calves. According to a 2014 study in Alaska, researchers found evidence of wolverines scavenging on moose calves killed by other predators like wolves and bears.

It appears that wolverines will occasionally track, attack, and feed on vulnerable moose calves when given the opportunity.

One case described a moose calf in Alaska whose hind legs showed clear signs of attack from a wolverine, including slashes and missing hair and skin. While the calf survived the initial attack, it likely struggled to keep up with its mother afterward and probably fell victim to other predators soon after.

This demonstrates how harassment from a wolverine, while not directly fatal, can seal the fate of a vulnerable moose calf.

Animal Trampling Cases Harassment/Injury Cases
Moose 2 documented Rare
Wolverine Rare 3+ documented

As shown in the table above, while rare in both cases, it appears documented instances skew towards moose trampling wolverines more often than wolverines directly killing moose. However, wolverines have been shown to harass and injure moose, especially vulnerable calves, which can lead to their untimely death by other predators soon after.


After comparing the various attributes and documented interactions between wolverines and moose, the moose emerges as the likely victor due to its massive size advantage and ability to seriously injure or kill a wolverine with powerful kicks.

However, the wolverine should never be underestimated – its sharp claws, speed, ferocity, and thick hide give it a chance to injure the moose as well.

While direct conflicts between wolverines and moose in the wild are rare, the potential battle highlights the diversity of impressive wildlife across North America. Both species are incredible in their own right, equipped with evolutionary adaptations that allow them to survive and thrive in harsh northern environments.

Hopefully this breakdown gave you a better understanding of how these two mighty animals stack up against each other!

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