Skip to main content

European Badger

Every year on September 19th, we learn about a Badger. We've talked about the American Badger, Honey Badger, and Japanese Badger-- so now comes time for the iconic European Badger.

Meles meles
This critter lives everywhere in Europe. Its range covers nearly the entire continent, plus parts of the Middle East as well. With a span that large it's no wonder that there are eight different subspecies, the most populous of those being the creatively named "Common Badger," Meles meles meles.

European Badgers can measure up to 3ft in length and weigh between 20 and 35lbs, depending on the time of year (they bulk up in the fall.) They have those distinctive white faces with black lines running from ear to mouth.

This Badger species is one of the least carnivorous of all the members of the Carnivora Order. They will track down rabbits and other prey using their fantastic sense of smell, but they also eat a huge amount of vegetation as well, including fruits, fungi, acorns, and grasses.

European Badgers also have the distinction of being the most social Badgers. Where their relatives tend to be solitary, these guys will live in small groups that number up to ten adults. Only the dominant females will breed each year and produce cubs, and if a subordinate female also breeds, her offspring might be killed by the more senior members of the group.

These Badger groups occupy a territory, which is passed down from generation to generation. Because of their long-term residencies, the dens that European Badgers build can be very, very complex. Some have literally dozens of different entrances, and passages can be hundreds of feet long. Some Badgers (depending on location) will go into torpor during the winter, and will cover up their den entrances while they sleep. In warmer locations, the Badgers may not go inactive during winter at all.

European Badgers have a long relationship with humans. They have been hunted for sport for hundreds of years, and their hair is popular for use in shaving brushes. The Badgers are also, unfortunately, carriers of rabies and Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB). Various culls have taken place during the last few decades in order to keep bTB from spreading, including a program start started in August 2013. There is much debate on whether the culls are necessary, and some locations are trying out vaccination programs to see if they are more effective.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe
Size : Length up to 35in (90cm), Weight up to 35lbs (16kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Mustelidae -- Genus : Meles -- Species : M. meles
Image : Mark Robinson Andy Mabbett

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

10 Years?!

My goodness! It's been 6 years since I went on hiatus, and now more than 10 years since AaD was born, and what a world we've moved in to! Animal a Day is coming back- but in the meantime, check us out on Facebook, for your daily dose of #BIRDNEWS