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Badgers

Other Species Of Badgers

The natural range of the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) extends south of the tundra throughout most of Europe, Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, China, and Japan. The Eurasian badger is primarily a species of forests and thick scrub, although it also occurs in relatively disturbed habitats, such as parks. The Eurasian badger can reach a length of 3 ft (1 m) and a weight of 35 lb (16 kg). It has pronounced white stripes running along the head and the forepart of its back, overlying a grayish basal color. The feet are colored dark brown or black.

The Eurasian badger digs its den or "set" in open sites with sandy soil, using its strong forelegs and stout, sharp claws. The den may be used continuously by many A badger at its den hole. Photograph by Jess R. Lee. The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission. generations of animals, and is a complex of tunnels, with numerous exits, entrances, ventilation holes, sleeping chambers, and even an underground toilet area for use by young (adults defecate in outside pits). The sleeping areas are lined with a bedding of plant materials, which are kept clean by frequent renewals.

The Eurasian badger is monogamous and pairs for life, which can be as long as 15 years. This species is somewhat gregarious, and several pairs will live in harmony in the same complex of burrows. Once the young badgers have matured, however, they are driven from the natal den. This usually occurs after the end of their first winter, when the animals are almost one-year old.

European badgers forage at dusk and during the night, although they may also be seen basking during the day. These animals are omnivorous, with plant materials comprising about three quarters of the food consumed, and hunted and scavenged animals the remainder. If they are hand-raised as babies, European badgers will become quite tame, but wild-caught adults are not tamable.

The hog-badger (Arctonyx collaris) occurs in hilly, tropical and subtropical forests of northern India, Nepal, southern China, and Southeast Asia, as far south as Indonesian Sumatra. The hog-badger can weigh as much as 31 lb (14 kg), and is an omnivorous, nocturnal animal with a pig-like snout. This species digs enthusiastically, and climbs well.

The teludu or Malayan stink badger (Mydaus javanensis) is a brown animal with a broad, white stripe running along its back from the head to the tail. The teludu has well-developed anal glands, which can be used in a skunk-like fashion to deter potential predators by squirting a smelly secretion as far as 5 ft (1.5 m). This species occurs on the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, and Java. The palawan or calamian stink badger (Suillotaxus marchei) occurs on some Philippine Islands.

The ferret badgers are various species of relatively slender, ferret-like animals, with a long, bushy tail, a face mask, and an active and inquisitive demeanor. The Chinese ferret badger (Melogale moschata) occurs in China and northern Southeast Asia. The Bornean or Javan ferret badger (M. orientalis) occurs on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The Indian ferret badger (M. personata) occurs from eastern India and Nepal to Thailand and Vietnam. Ferret badgers live in open forests and savannas, and they den in holes dug in the ground or in hollow trees. Ferret badgers are predators of small mammals, birds, and invertebrates.


Resources

Books

Banfield, A.W.F. The Mammals of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974.

Grzimek, B., ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. London: McGraw Hill, 1990.

Hall, E. R. The Mammals of North America. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley & Sons, 1981.

Nowak, R. M., ed. Walker's Mammals of the World. 5th ed. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Wilson, D. E., and D. Reeder. Mammal Species of the World. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.


Bill Freedman

KEY TERMS

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Crepuscular

—Refers to animals that are most active in the dim light of dawn and dusk, and sometimes at night as well.

Fossorial

—Refers to animals that spend a great deal of time digging and living underground.

Omnivore

—Consumers of a wide range of foods.

Additional topics

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