Badger: Facts and Resources about Badgers
What is a Badger?
Badgers are a mammal that are indigenous to many areas of the world, including North America, Asia, Europe, especially the Scandinavian countries. The animals are related to otters and weasels, and their species include a number of subfamilies. The three subfamilies of badgers include Melinae, Mellivorinae and Taxideinae. The origin of the name ‘badger’ is not fact, but it is believed that the name came from the French word bêcheur, which means ‘digger’. Badgers are natural diggers, and can dig in search of food faster than a human with a shovel can dig into the ground. Other theories believe that the name badger has more to do with the ‘badge’ that the animal wears in color markings upon its head.
What is the scientific Classification of a Badger?
Family: Mustelidae (badgers, otters, skunks)
Genus: (Most common include) Arctonyx, Enhydritherium, Satherium, Melogale, Meles
Species: (Most common include) collaris, albogularis, hoevenir, terraenovae, piscinarium, personata, orientalis, moschata, everetti, anakuma, lecurus, meles
Quick fun facts about Badgers
What is a baby Badger known as: Cub
Female Badgers are called: Sow
Male Badgers are called: Boar
A group of Badgers is called: A group of badgers is technically called a “cete” but their colonies are more often known as a clans.
What is a badger’s home called: Badgers live in colonies with groups of other badgers. Their dens are called “setts”.
How tall is a Badger: Badgers are typically 12 inches tall to the top of their shoulders when they are standing on all-fours.
Conservation status of Badgers:
Although each species of badger lives in a different area, and behaves differently, most appear to be listed as “Least Concern” on the conservation status scale.
Location of Badgers:
There are a large number of badger species located throughout the word. They are most prominent in North America, Ireland, Great Britain and Europe. They occupy the Scandinavian Peninsulas and Japan, China an Indonesia.
Badgers begin breeding when they are around one year old. The mating typically takes place between February and May. Interestingly, after mating, the female badger, or sow, can choose when she wishes to fertilize the egg. This is a process called delayed implementation. The female might delay conception depending on whether there is adequate food available or whether weather conditions are conducive and warm enough for raising a baby badger.
Badgers all look different depending on their species and how they have adapted to their environment over thousands of years of evolution. Most have a distinct black or grey furry body with white stripes running lengthwise, either from the head to the tail section, or from the nose to the base of the neck.
Predators of the Badger:
Badgers are primarily hunted by humans, who have made a sport of trapping hunting and poisoning badgers. Badgers are also, unfortunately, the victims of automobile accidents. Wild predators include golden eagles, bobcats, cougars, coyotes, bears and grey wolves. Badgers themselves typically prey on small mammals, especially rodents, snakes and insects. Coyotes and badgers are each predators of each other, depending on the circumstance. The two animals have also been known to hunt together on occasion. They two seem to work in tandem. Coyotes are excellent above ground hunters, while badgers specialize in digging out rodents that the coyote may have tracked above ground.
Badgers are tough animals, and they have been known to ward off multiple predators such as lions, hyenas and wolves. This is especially true of the African Honey Badger, which is able to run at speeds of up to 19 miles per hour for short periods of time.
What does a Badger look like?
Badgers all look different depending on their species and how they have adapted to their environment over thousands of years of evolution. Most have a distinct black or grey furry body with white stripes running lengthwise, either from the head to the tail section, or from the nose to the base of the neck. The animals are small, and have short legs. They crawl on four legs and walk low to the ground. They have short, fat bodies, with short necks. Some species have elongated faces, while others have short snouts. Badgers have fur-covered tails.
How much does a Badger weigh?
Badgers typically weigh around 17 to 20 pounds. Their weight increases in autumn, after they have eaten plentifully during the summer and autumn seasons. In autumn, the animals can weigh around 25 to 28 pounds. Adult males typically weigh about 2 pounds more than adult females. Additionally, adult females that have recently given birth, or are lactating, usually weigh 2 pounds more than adult females that are not lactating.
Where are Badgers found?
Badgers are found all over the world. They are most common in North America and Europe; most prominently in the UK, Scotland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden. The animals are also located in Japan and China. The species differ between regions of the world. All have adapted to their environments over thousands of years.
What do Badgers Eat?
Badgers often eat plant roots and fruit. However, the badger diet consists of mainly carnivorous food, including small mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, grubs, earthworms and amphibians. The small animals have been known to eat as many as 200 earthworms in a day. The name given to the carnivorous behavior of American Badgers in particular is “fossorial”, which means that this species preys on animals by digging rather than stalking its prey above ground. Honey badgers, which live in Africa only, feed on honey from bees nests, venomous snakes and porcupines; three of the most potentially painful foods that could be consumed by a mammal.
Resources about Badgers
National Geographic Magazine – Honey Badgers
American Badger Information