A-z - Animals

badger

badger facts

main prey
worm, rodent, root, fruit
unique features
Flat body and long claws
Habitat
Woodlands, grasslands, swamps and scrub
predator
human, golden eagle, cougar, bobcat, wolf, bear
diet
Omnivores

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Badgers are such clean animals that they build public toilets away from where they live and sleep.

Badgers are medium-sized animals with a long, low body, broad feet, and slender claws. The coat color of badgers can vary from black to brown, blond and even white. Badgers are related to otters, ferrets, wolverines, minks, and weasels. These mammals are nocturnal, and while many of them live in groups, some can be solitary. The badger is the state animal of Wisconsin.

© AZ-Animals.com

5 Badger Facts

• Badgers are diurnal sleepers • There are 11 different species of badgers • Young badgers leave their burrows at about 6 months of age • Badgers are a member of the weasel family • Badgers have few natural enemies

You can check out more incredible facts about badgers here.

scientific name

The scientific name of the badger is Taxidea Taxus, which belongs to the family Mustelidae and belongs to the class Mammalia. The subfamilies of badgers are Helictidinae, Melinae, Mellivorinae and Taxideinae. The researchers divided the 11 badger species into three groups. These are the Melinae or Eurasian badgers, the Mellivorinae or honey badgers, and the Taxideinae or American badgers.

The name "badger" comes from the 16th century word "bageard". Originally, the name referred to the European badger, an animal with a white marking on its forehead. Bauson is an obsolete name for a badger-like animal. Brock is another old name for this animal species, but it is almost never used.

The badger has played several protagonists in English literature over the years. For example, author Kenneth Grahame included a character named "Mr." Badger from The Wind in the Willows. CS Lewis added a badger to The Chronicles of Narnia, and Beatrix Potter featured a badger named "Tommy Brock" in her book "Mr. Todd's Tale".



badger species

There are 11 different species of badgers found around the world, including:

  • American Badger – The American badger is found in most of the United States, northern Mexico, south-central Canada, and southwestern British Columbia. They have the typical badger appearance with distinctive head markings and huge claws. They prefer grassland areas.
  • Honey Badger – The honey badger is found in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Similar to weasels, they excel at hiding from predators with loose, thick skin. Their preferred habitats are dry areas, grasslands and forests.
  • European Badger – The European badger is found throughout Europe and is commonly found in woodlands and suburban parks. Their coat is black and white, with a smooth coat and clean, straight lines on the face and around the eyes.
  • Giant Badger – The Giant Badger is native to Southeast Asia. It is known as one of the largest terrestrial mustelids and lives in tropical evergreen forests and grasslands.
  • Japanese badger – Endemic to Japan, the Japanese badger is smaller than the European badger, with gray-brown long hairs on the upper coat and short black hairs on the undercoat. It has characteristic black and white stripes on its face. They are found in woodland and forest habitats.
  • The Chinese sable badger – The Chinese sable badger inhabits Southeast Asia, northeastern India, and central China. They have distinctive mask-like facial markings that differ from most other species of badgers and are found in grasslands, open forests, and tropical rainforests.
  • Asian Badger – The Asian badger is native to Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Korea and Russia. They are lighter in color than European badgers, with brown stripes on their faces. Habitats include woodlands, pastures, scrubland, grasslands and alpine elevations.
  • Bornean sable badger – The Borneo sable badger is a small nocturnal badger found only on the island of Borneo. It is listed as a threatened species due to its small distribution, habitat destruction and natural disasters. Its most notable feature is the ferret-shaped mask.
  • Javan Ferret Badger – The Javan ferret badger is native to the hills and mountains of Java and Bali, Indonesia, as well as low-lying areas of forests and rubber plantations. They have small, narrow heads, blunt noses, large eyes, and brown, silky fur with red, gray, or tan highlights.
  • Burmese sable badger – The Burmese sable badger inhabits Southeast Asia. Its fur can be various shades of brown with a white stripe on its back. The face is marked with black and white patches. It is a nocturnal animal that lives in grasslands and forests.
  • Vietnamese sable badger – The Vietnamese sable badger was named its own species in 2006 after two carcasses were found over a two-year period with dark brown heads and bodies and black and white stripes from neck to shoulder. Their skull shapes are also different.
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appearance and behavior

Cutaway view of a badger, sitting in the dirt.
North American badgers are characterized by short, stubby legs, a muscular body, a short neck, and a broad, flattened head.

North American badgers are characterized by short, stubby legs, a muscular body, and a short neck. The animal's head is broad and flat. Badgers also have tails. They tend to have gray coats, dark faces, and a white stripe from back to nose. This animal is about 9 inches tall and 16 inches to 29 inches long. The badger's tail is about 4 inches to 6 inches long and about a third the size of actor Danny DeVito. They range in weight from 20 lbs to 24 lbs. A badger's lower jaw is pronounced from its upper jaw. This means that it is impossible to dislocate the animal's jaw, allowing it to hold its prey firmly. However, jaw positioning limits movement. Badgers can open and close their mouths or move side to side.

Badgers are primarily nocturnal and spend most of the winter underground. During this time, they fasted. To survive long periods of time without food, the animals accumulate large amounts of fat in late summer and fall.

Each badger family has unique behaviors, but all types of badgers live underground. Some live together in clans known as cete. They range in size from two animals to as many as 15. Badgers are capable of running short distances at speeds ranging from 16 mph to 19 mph. These animals are good at climbing and they can swim.

Badgers are animals known for their ferocity. If an adult female badger has babies to protect, she will actively guard them. Badgers have been documented to fight off packs of dogs and attack animals much larger than themselves, such as bears and wolves. Badgers may show aggression toward humans if they feel threatened. The animal can defend itself with a painful bite.

This animal species is territorial and they will protect a territory of approximately 3 to 4 square miles. The size of a badger's territory usually depends on the abundance of food. Badgers are very clean animals and do not defecate in burrows. In fact, they build shallow pits far from their homes for this purpose. Badgers also don't bring food into their burrows.

evolution and history

The origin of the badger on the evolutionary chain is a bit sketchy. Since they are members of the weasel family, it is possible to trace the evolutionary history of the weasel and perhaps find out more definitive information. For all our intents and purposes, there are some fossil finds that appear to be the ancestors of the honey badger. One fossil has been identified as Millivora sivalensis , a honey badger-like animal that dates back 2 million years to early Ice Age Pakistan. The other is Benfield's honey badger, or Mellivora benfieldi, whose fossils come from Italy, Ethiopia, and South Africa. It is thought to have lived in the late Miocene 5-6 million years ago. Definitive honey badger fossils have been found along with saber-toothed cats and other animals at a site near Cape Town, South Africa.

The Benfield honey badger is so similar to modern honey badgers that it is thought to be its ancestor, but this is not certain. The analysis showed that this ancestor was smaller and less adept at digging than modern badgers. Their diet should be similar, but Benfield's honey badger is probably more of a meat eater than a root and bulb eater.

The oldest honey badger may be Howelllictis valentini , a 7-million-year-old fossil from Chad. The fossil shows that the badger walked on flat feet like modern day badgers, but wasn't a good digger either. This provides evidence that honey badgers have been a distinct group since the Late Miocene.

The genera Eomellivora and Ekorus are considered early honey badgers and have been nicknamed "giant honey badgers" due to their much larger size. Eomellivora dates back 10 million years and has been found in Africa, Eurasia and even North America.

Habitat

Badger Animal Facts - Budget Tunnel
Badgers can be found in mountain meadows, grasslands, glades, and swamps.

©Coatesy/Shutterstock.com

American badgers generally live in grassland areas and open areas with grassland characteristics. They live in parks, farms and places where there are no trees. Badgers make their homes in areas where there is a supply of healthy rodents. You may encounter them in alpine meadows, forest clearings and swamps. They are also found in hot desert environments and thickets. Badgers have been encountered at altitudes as high as 12,000 feet, but the animal prefers to live at lower altitudes.

In California, badgers live in agricultural areas and open spaces. They also make their home in regional, state and national parks. Badgers living in Arizona generally live in semi-desert grasslands and scrubland areas. In Ontario, they live in the far southwestern part of the province.

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A badger's use of the home area depends on the season and whether it is a male or female badger. These creatures use certain areas of their home more frequently depending on the season. The areas they use are also based on the prey they have available. Male badgers generally have larger home spaces than female badgers.

Animal species need shelter to sleep, protect from the elements, hide and give birth. Badgers often expand the size of gopher holes or burrows that other animals have made for themselves. When a badger builds or occupies another animal's burrow, it may be called a sett. The dens of this animal vary in size from about 4 feet to 10 feet deep and 4 feet to 6 feet wide. Female badgers may create two to four dens near the connecting tunnels to provide shelter and protection for their young. A common sign of a badger burrow is the evacuation of soil in front of the burrow entrance. If you look from a distance, you will see a mound-shaped cave roof with the living space below.

Badgers are more frequent in summer and fall. Also, depending on the burrowing pattern, these animals may dig one to three burrows from their prey holes per day. Badgers will use these for a day to a week, then temporarily abandon them and return later. Other wildlife may take advantage of these empty badger holes. Badgers will repurpose burrows if prey is plentiful, especially in the fall. Sometimes the animals stay in these dens for several days. When winter arrives, badgers hide in their burrows for most of the season.

Badgers have different types of suits. However, their main is the biggest. These can be hundreds of years old. They can also have hundreds of entrances.

diet

what do badgers eat

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Badgers are omnivores, primarily preying on pocket gophers, woodchucks, ground squirrels, and moles. They also eat deer mice and voles as well as snakes. American badgers are major predators of snakes and will even go after rattlesnakes. Badgers may also feed on ground-nesting birds such as shore martins or sand martins. They will eat lizards, fish and insects. Animals eat plant foods such as green beans, corn, mushrooms, and sunflower seeds. Badgers have been known to be poisoned by eating rotting fruit.

Predators and Threats

Badgers have only a few natural enemies as they are extremely aggressive animals. While their natural predators include coyotes, bobcats, golden eagles and bears, they are most commonly hunted by mountain lions. Humans trap them for their fur. Badger hide is used for paintbrushes and shaving brushes.

Humans also hunt them in several countries. The dachshund breed exists because people bred them to hunt badgers. Baits have been popular in the UK in the past. Fortunately, opposition to the sport led to the passage of the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835, in addition to the Badger Protection Act of 1992. For further protection, the country passed the 2004 Hunting Act.

In Britain, badgers were eaten during World War II. Early American settlers and Native Americans also ate them. Today, European badgers die of starvation and tuberculosis, but more often from vehicles than from any other means.

honey badger and lion
A young lion stalks a honey badger.

©Louis LotterPhotography/Shutterstock.com

Reproduction, Babies and Longevity

Mating season is usually in early spring or late summer. These animals usually mate near or within the entrance of the burrow. Badgers experience delayed engraftment. Early embryos implant in late December or the first or second week of January. Once pregnant, the female badger will dig a nest for spawning, which she will use for a long time. Pups are born after 8 to 10 weeks, which usually occurs in late April or early May. These cubs have soft gray fur and are cautious and shy. After the babies are born, the female badger may move her den to other places in search of food. Nests at birth are usually larger and more complex than normal badger dens.

Male European badgers are called wild boars, while female European badgers are called sows. Babies are called cubs. In North America, baby badgers are called kits. Male and female are terms for adult badgers in North America. Female badgers give birth to 1 to 5 pups per litter. Female badgers tend to their litter alone, and the pups will remain in the burrow until they are about 8 weeks old. When baby badgers are about 4 months old, they can forage for food on their own. At 6 months old, badger pups leave their mother's den.

In the wild, badgers live an average of 4 to 10 years. They can live up to 14 years. When these animals are kept in captivity, they can live up to 26 years.

Animals That Burrow: Badgers
Most types of badgers are not considered threatened or endangered, but they are highly threatened in China, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

© Martin Mecnarowski/Shutterstock.com

population

The International Union for Conservation of Nature reports that most badger species are not considered threatened or endangered. American badgers number in the hundreds of thousands. However, the hog badger is close to being threatened, as the animal's population has declined by less than 30 percent in three generations. The species is highly threatened in China, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. In England and Wales, the population is around 485,000, meaning the species is not currently at risk there.

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more about badger

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about the author


Abby Parks is the author of novels, plays, short stories, poems and lyrics. She has recorded two albums of her original songs and is a multi-instrumentalist. She manages a folk music website and writes about singer-songwriters, folk bands, and other music-related articles. She is also a radio DJ for folk music shows. As well as being a pet parent to rabbits, birds, dogs and cats, Abby enjoys hunting for animals in the wild and has witnessed some of the more exotic ones such as Puffins in the Farne Islands, Puffins in Chiloe Southern Pudu (Chile), penguins in the wild, and countless wildlife of the Rocky Mountains (bighorn sheep, goats, moose, elk, marmots, beavers).

Badger FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are badgers carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores?

Badgers are omnivores, so they eat both mammals and plants.

Are badgers dangerous?

Badger attacks on humans are rare, but they do happen occasionally. When a person tries to catch or trap a badger, the badger protects itself with its claws and teeth. If you encounter a badger, it's best to give it plenty of space.

Can badgers be pets?

People have been known to keep badgers as pets. If someone adopts a badger as a baby, the animal can adjust to life as a pet. However, they are not the easiest pets to make. Badgers are natural diggers and can be very destructive.

Are badgers rodents?

Badgers belong to the weasel family, which includes skunks, wolverines, and otters. However, they are often mistaken for rodents due to their body shape and head structure.

To which kingdom do badgers belong?

Badgers belong to the animal kingdom.

What phylum do badgers belong to?

Badgers belong to the phylum Chordate.

Which category do badgers belong to?

Badgers belong to the class Mammalia.

What family do badgers belong to?

Badgers belong to the weasel family.

What order do badgers belong to?

Badgers belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do badgers belong to?

Badgers belong to the Taxidiinae genus.

What type of mulch do Badgers have?

Badgers are covered with fur.

What type of habitat do badgers live in?

Badgers live in woodlands and hedgerows.

What are the distinctive features of badgers?

Badgers have flat bodies and long claws.

What do badgers eat?

Badgers eat worms, roots and fruit.

Who are the badger's natural enemies?

Predators of badgers include humans, hawks and feral cats.

What is the average litter size for a badger?

The average litter size for badgers is three.

Any fun facts about Badgers?

Badgers can reach speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour!

What is the badger's scientific name?

The badger's scientific name is Taxidea Taxus.

What is the lifespan of a badger?

Badgers can live 4 to 10 years.

How fast is the Badger?

The Badger can travel at 18 miles per hour.

What's the Difference Between a Skunk and a Badger?

One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a badger and a skunk is by their size. Badgers are much larger than skunks, averaging between 24-30 lbs. The only time you need to identify skunks and badgers by their relative size is in North America, as that is the only range they share. The largest badger species is generally considered to be the European badger. The European badger is commonly used in cartoon depictions and tends to be the one most people are familiar with, although the American badger is smaller and looks similar.

What is the Difference Between American Badgers and European Badgers?

European badgers grow larger than American badgers in both length and weight. American badgers also eat more carnivorous food than omnivorous European badgers. Finally, the two organisms also have different markings.

How did Badger say in

Portuguese

Texugo-American

Sweden

nodamerikansk valley

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source
  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animals, The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) Encyclopedia of World Animals
  3. David Burney, Kingfisher (2011) The Animal Encyclopedia of Kingfishers
  4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) Atlas of Threatened Species
  5. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia
  6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Animal Encyclopedia
  7. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) Encyclopedia of Mammals