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European badger (Meles meles)
European badger (Meles meles)

Badgers are a group of mammals that belong to the family Mustelidae, which also includes the otters, wolverines, martens, minks, polecats, weasels, and ferrets. There are 12 species of badgers, distributed across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Badgers have a distinctive appearance, with a black and white striped face, a stocky body, short legs and long claws. They are mostly nocturnal and live in burrows called setts, which they dig with their powerful forelimbs. Badgers are omnivorous and feed on a variety of plants and animals, such as worms, insects, rodents, rabbits, fruits and roots. Some badgers are social and form groups called clans, while others are solitary.

Badgers have a reputation for being fierce and aggressive, especially when defending their setts or young. They can fight off larger predators like wolves, bears and foxes with their sharp teeth and claws. Badgers also have a gland near their anus that produces a foul-smelling secretion called musk, which they use to mark their territory and deter enemies. Badgers are often hunted by humans for their fur, meat or sport, or persecuted as pests or carriers of diseases. However, badgers are valued as ecological engineers, as their digging activities create habitats for other animals and plants.

Badgers have rather short, wide bodies, with short legs for digging. They have elongated, weasel-like heads with small ears. Their tails vary in length depending on species; the stink badger has a very short tail, while the ferret-badger's tail can be 46–51 cm (18–20 in) long, depending on age. They have black faces with distinctive white markings, grey bodies with a light-coloured stripe from head to tail, and dark legs with light-coloured underbellies. They grow to around 90 cm (35 in) in length, including tail.

Species of badger

  1. European Badger (Meles meles): The European badger is one of the most widely recognized badger species. It is native to Europe and parts of Asia. European badgers are known for their distinctive black and white facial markings.
  2. American Badger (Taxidea taxus): The American badger is native to North America. It has a stocky build, short legs, and a broad head. American badgers are known for their excellent digging abilities and can create extensive burrow systems.
  3. Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis): The honey badger, also known as the ratel, is found in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. It has a reputation for being incredibly tough and fearless. Honey badgers are known for their aggressive nature and are renowned for their ability to defend themselves against much larger predators.
  4. Hog Badger (Arctonyx collaris): The hog badger is native to parts of Southeast Asia, including China, India, and the Indonesian islands. It has a unique appearance, with a long head, white stripes across the face, and a black and white body.
  5. Japanese Badger (Meles anakuma): The Japanese badger is endemic to Japan. It is similar in appearance to the European badger but is slightly smaller in size.
  6. Bornean Ferret-Badger (Melogale everetti): The Bornean ferret-badger is found on the island of Borneo. It has a slender body, short legs, and a long tail. Bornean ferret-badgers are skilled climbers and spend a significant amount of time in trees.
  7. Cape Badger (Meles larvata): The Cape badger is found in southern Africa, particularly in the Cape region of South Africa. It is similar in appearance to the European badger but has a smaller size.
  8. Asian Badger (Meles leucurus): The Asian badger, also known as the white-tailed badger, is native to Central Asia. It has a white-tipped tail and a more elongated body compared to other badger species.
  9. Chinese Ferret-Badger (Melogale moschata): The Chinese ferret-badger is found in parts of China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. It has a long body, short legs, and a bushy tail. Chinese ferret-badgers have distinctive facial markings.
  10. Indonesian Mountain Badger (Meles lutreola): The Indonesian mountain badger, also known as the Javan badger, is endemic to the Indonesian island of Java. It is smaller in size compared to the European badger and has a more slender build.
  11. Javan Ferret-Badger (Melogale orientalis): The Javan ferret-badger is native to Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It has a long body, short legs, and a bushy tail. Javan ferret-badgers have a distinctive color pattern with dark fur on their back and a white or yellowish underside.
  12. Burmese Ferret-Badger (Melogale personata): The Burmese ferret-badger is found in parts of Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. It has a slender body, short legs, and a long tail. Burmese ferret-badgers have a dark brown or black coat with a white or pale-colored face.

See also

External links

  • Badger Encyclopaedia Britannica