By Melissa Wynn
I was so excited when photos of wolverines were captured proving that these shy and illusive creatures still exist wild in the Sierra. The photos were taken right next door in Tahoe National Forest, so it isn’t far fetched that Plumas or Lassen National Forest might have a yet undiscovered population as well.
I believe I saw a wolverine in Seneca canyon in the mid eighties but there must be a photo or some other tangible evidence to be a documentable sighting. Have you ever seen a wolverine in Plumas or Lassen National Forest? We would be thrilled to discover that one of our readers documented the first Plumas or Lassen National Forest wolverine sighting.
Many outdoors enthusiasts who thought they saw a wolverine in fact saw a North American Badger. The two are quite different and it is easy to tell them apart when you know what you are looking for.
The North American Badger is known for its short and stocky build. The mostly black legs are short and the grizzled looking, grayish body is wide and almost flat, like a footstool. Unique facial markings however are what really tell that a badger is a badger. The nose and snout are black and the black continues between the eyes and up over the head. A broad white stripe divides the black from the center of the snout up over the top of the stubby-eared head.Cream colored or white cheeks, chin and under belly top off the tuxedoed appearance of the bossy badger.
Wolverines wear a totally different coat and build than the badger. Wolverine fur is long and often sports a dark reddish brown saddle marking. A lighter coat color extends from the wide black snout and face, over the head and surrounding the saddle to the base of a long shaggy black tail. The sturdy black legs can move these mysterious critters over mountain tops at speeds of forty miles per day.
Badgers and wolverines are both dangerous, wild animals. Never approach them! Snap a photo from a safe distance or gather a hair or scat sample once they’ve gone to document your sighting.