Badger

Badger

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Badger'
Start a new discussion about 'Badger'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Badgers are short-legged omnivore
Omnivore
Omnivores are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source...

s in the weasel
Weasel
Weasels are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. They are small, active predators, long and slender with short legs....

 family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

, Mustelidae
Mustelidae
Mustelidae , commonly referred to as the weasel family, are a family of carnivorous mammals. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, at least partly because in the past it has been a catch-all category for many early or poorly differentiated taxa...

. There are nine species of badger, in three subfamilies (see links in species list below): Melinae (badgers of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

), Mellivorinae (the Ratel
Ratel
The honey badger , also known as the ratel, is a species of mustelid native to Africa, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. Despite its name, the honey badger does not closely resemble other badger species, instead bearing more anatomical similarities to weasels...

 or honey badger), and Taxideinae (the American badger
American Badger
The American badger is a North American badger, somewhat similar in appearance to the European badger. It is found in the western and central United States, northern Mexico and central Canada, as well as in certain areas of southwestern British Columbia.Their habitat is typified by open...

). The Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

tic stink badgers
Javan Stink Badger
The Sunda stink badger is a mammal of Southeast Asia. There is strong DNA evidence that the genus Mydaus is not a member of the badger family at all, but are in fact Old World relatives of the skunks...

 of the genus Mydaus were formerly included in the Melinae and Mustelidae, but recent genetic evidence indicates that these are actually members of the skunk
Skunk
Skunks are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor. General appearance varies from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks belong to the family Mephitidae and to the order Carnivora...

 family, placing them in the taxonomic family Mephitidae.

Badgers include the species in the genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 
Meles, Arctonyx, Taxidea and Mellivora species. Their lower jaw
Mandible
The mandible pronunciation or inferior maxillary bone forms the lower jaw and holds the lower teeth in place...

 is articulated to the upper by means of a transverse condyle firmly locked into a long cavity of the cranium
Skull
The skull is a bony structure in the head of many animals that supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.The skull is composed of two parts: the cranium and the mandible. A skull without a mandible is only a cranium. Animals that have skulls are called craniates...

, so that dislocation of the jaw is all but impossible. This enables the badger to maintain its hold with the utmost tenacity, but limits its jaw movement to hinging open and shut, or sliding from side to side without the twisting movement possible for the jaws of most mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s.

Badgers have rather short, fat bodies, with short legs built for digging. Their ears are small, and they have elongated weasel-like heads, their tails vary in length depending on species, the stink badger has a very short tail, while the ferret badger's tail can be eighteen to twenty inches long, depending on age. they have black faces with distinctive white markings, their bodies are gray with a light colored stripe from their head to their tail, they have dark legs with light colored stomachs. They grow to around 35 inches in length including tail. the European badger is one of the largest, the American badger, the hog badger and the honey badger are similar in size and weight, though generally a little smaller and lighter. The stink badgers are smaller still, and the ferret badgers are the smallest of all. They weigh around 20-24lbs on average (With some Eurasian badgers weighing in at around 40lbs!).(http://www.badgers.org.uk/badgerpages)

Etymology



The word badger originally applied to the European badger (Meles meles). Its derivation
Derivation (linguistics)
In linguistics, derivation is the process of forming a new word on the basis of an existing word, e.g. happi-ness and un-happy from happy, or determination from determine...

 is uncertain. It possibly comes from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 word
bêcheur (digger) The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 states it probably derives from
badge + -ard, referring to the white mark borne like a badge on its forehead. It is possibly related to the Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

 
viezure ("badger"), a word of uncertain etymology, believed to be inherited from Dacian
Dacian language
The extinct Dacian language may have developed from proto-Indo-European in the Carpathian region around 2,500 BC and probably died out by AD 600. In the 1st century AD, it was the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and, possibly, of some surrounding regions.It belonged...

/Thracian
Thracian language
The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

 and related to the Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

 
vjedhullë ("badger", "thief") and vjeth ("to steal"), and the Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 
jazvrŭ ("hedgehog
Hedgehog
A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae and the order Erinaceomorpha. There are 17 species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand . There are no hedgehogs native to Australia, and no living species native to the Americas...

"; cf. Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 
jazavac "badger").
The less common name
brock (Old English: brocc), (Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

:
brock) is a Celtic
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

 (cf. Gaelic
Goidelic languages
The Goidelic languages or Gaelic languages are one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic languages, the other consisting of the Brythonic languages. Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from the south of Ireland through the Isle of Man to the north of Scotland...

 
broc and Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 
broch, from Proto-Celtic *brokko) meaning grey. The Proto-Germanic term was *þahsu- (cf. German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 
Dachs, Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 
das, Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 svin-
toks; Early Modern English
Early Modern English
Early Modern English is the stage of the English language used from about the end of the Middle English period to 1650. Thus, the first edition of the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare both belong to the late phase of Early Modern English...

:
dasse), probably from the PIE
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 root
Root (linguistics)
The root word is the primary lexical unit of a word, and of a word family , which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents....

 
*tek'- "to construct," so that the badger would have been named after its digging of sett
Sett
A badger sett or set is a badger's den, usually consisting of a network of tunnels. The largest setts are spacious enough to accommodate 15 or more animals, with up to of tunnels and as many as 40 openings. It takes many years for the animals to dig these large setts...

s (tunnels).

A male badger is a boar, a female is a sow and a young badger is a cub. A collective name suggested for a group of badgers is a cete, but badger colonies are more often called clans. Badger dens are called setts.

Classification


The following list shows where the various species with the common name of badger are placed in the Mustelidae classification. The list is polyphyletic and the species commonly called badgers do not, if the stink badgers are included, form a valid clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

.
  • Family Mustelidae
    • Subfamily Melinae
      • Genus †Enhydritherium
        • Giant Florida sea otter, Enhydritherium terraenovae
          Enhydritherium terraenovae
          Enhydritherium terraenovae is an extinct giant otter endemic to North America which lived during the Miocene through Pliocene epochs from ~9.1—4.9 Ma...

      • Genus †Satherium
        • Satherium piscinarium
          Satherium piscinarium
          Satherium piscinarium is an extinct genus and species of giant otter of North America living during the Pliocene through Pleistocene from ~3.7—1.6 Ma....

          (Hagerman's Otter)
      • Genus Melogale
        • Burmese ferret-badger
          Burmese Ferret-badger
          The Burmese ferret-badger , also known as the large-toothed ferret-badger, is a species of mammal in the Mustelidae family.- External links:*- References :*...

          , Melogale personata
        • Javan ferret-badger
          Javan Ferret-badger
          The Javan ferret-badger is a species of mammal in the Mustelidae family. It is endemic to Java and Bali in Indonesia. It sometimes includes one or several of the other members of the genus Melogale as subspecies....

          , Melogale orientalis
        • Chinese ferret-badger, Melogale moschata
        • Bornean ferret-badger, Melogale everetti
        • Vietnam ferret-badger, Melogale cucphuongensis
      • Genus Meles
        • Japanese badger
          Japanese badger
          The Japanese badger is a species of carnivoran of the family Mustelidae, the weasels and their kin. It is endemic to Japan, where it is found on Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Shodoshima...

          ,
          Meles anakuma
        • Asian badger
          Asian Badger
          The Asian badger , also known as the sand badger is a species of badger native to China, Kazakhstan, the Korean Peninsula and Russia.-Description:...

          ,
          Meles leucurus
        • European badger, Meles meles
    • Subfamily Mellivorinae
      • Honey badger or Ratel, Mellivora capensis
    • Subfamily Taxideinae:
      • Chamitataxus avitus
      • Pliotaxidea nevadensis
      • Pliotaxidea garberi
      • American badger
        American Badger
        The American badger is a North American badger, somewhat similar in appearance to the European badger. It is found in the western and central United States, northern Mexico and central Canada, as well as in certain areas of southwestern British Columbia.Their habitat is typified by open...

        ,
        Taxidea taxus
    • Subfamily Mustelinae
      Mustelinae
      Mustelinae is a polyphyletic subfamily of family Mustelidae and includes wolverines, weasels, ferrets, martens, minks, and similar carnivorous mammals of Order Carnivora.- Extant species of Mustelinae :Subfamily Mustelinae*Genus Arctonyx...

      • Includes: weasels, martens, polecats and allies
  • Family Mephitidae
    • Genus Mydaus
      • Indonesian or Sunda stink badger (teledu), Mydaus javanensis
      • Palawan stink badger
        Palawan Stink Badger
        The Palawan stink badger is a small skunk that lives on the Philippine Islands of Palawan and Busuanga. They live primarily in the grasslands and in cultivated areas on these islands.- External links :*...

        , Mydaus marchei

Distribution


Badgers are found in much of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and most of Europe as far as southern Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

. They live as far east as Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The Javan ferret-badger lives in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, and the Bornean ferret-badger lives in Malaysia. The honey badger is found in most of Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

, the Arabian Desert
Arabian Desert
The Arabian Desert is a vast desert wilderness stretching from Yemen to the Persian Gulf and Oman to Jordan and Iraq. It occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula, with an area of...

, southern Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.

Behavior


The behavior of badgers differs by family, but all shelter underground, living in burrows called setts, which may be very extensive. Some are solitary, moving from home to home, while others are known to form clans. Clan size
Group size measures
Many animals, including humans, tend to live in groups, herds, flocks, bands, packs, shoals, or colonies of conspecific individuals. The size of these groups, as expressed by the number of participant individuals, is an important aspect of their social environment...

 is variable from 2 to 15. Badgers can be fierce animals and will protect themselves and their young at all costs. Badgers are capable of fighting off much larger animals such as wolves and bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

s. Badgers can run or gallop
Gait
Gait is the pattern of movement of the limbs of animals, including humans, during locomotion over a solid substrate. Most animals use a variety of gaits, selecting gait based on speed, terrain, the need to maneuver, and energetic efficiency...

 at up to 25 – for short periods of time.

In North America, coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

s sometimes eat badgers and vice versa, but the majority of their interactions seem to be mutual or neutral. American badger
American Badger
The American badger is a North American badger, somewhat similar in appearance to the European badger. It is found in the western and central United States, northern Mexico and central Canada, as well as in certain areas of southwestern British Columbia.Their habitat is typified by open...

s and coyotes have been seen hunting together in a cooperative fashion.

Diet


The diet of the Eurasian badger
Eurasian Badger
The European Badger is a species of badger of the genus Meles, native to almost all of Europe. It is classed as Least Concern for extinction by the IUCN, due to its wide distribution and large population....

 consists largely of earthworm
Earthworm
Earthworm is the common name for the largest members of Oligochaeta in the phylum Annelida. In classical systems they were placed in the order Opisthopora, on the basis of the male pores opening posterior to the female pores, even though the internal male segments are anterior to the female...

s, insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s, and grubs
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

. They also eat small mammals, amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s, reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s and bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s as well as root
Root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

s and fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

. Indeed, in southern Spain, badgers mostly feed on rabbits. The honey badger of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 consumes honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, porcupines and even venomous snakes (such as the puff adder
Bitis arietans
Bitis arietans is a venomous viper species found in savannah and grasslands from Morocco and western Arabia throughout Africa except for the Sahara and rain forest regions. It is responsible for causing the most fatalities in Africa owing to various factors, such as its wide distribution and...

). They will climb trees to gain access to honey from bees' nests. American badger
American Badger
The American badger is a North American badger, somewhat similar in appearance to the European badger. It is found in the western and central United States, northern Mexico and central Canada, as well as in certain areas of southwestern British Columbia.Their habitat is typified by open...

s are fossorial
Fossorial
A fossorial organism is one that is adapted to digging and life underground such as the badger, the naked mole rat, and the mole salamanders Ambystomatidae...

 carnivore
Carnivore
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging...

s. Unlike many carnivores that stalk their prey in open country, badgers catch most of their food by digging. They can tunnel after ground-dwelling rodents with amazing speed.

Badgers have been known to become intoxicated with alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 after eating rotting fruit.

Humans



Hunting badgers is common in many countries. Manipulating the badger population is prohibited in many European countries as badgers are listed in the Berne Convention
Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats
The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats 1979, also known as the Bern Convention , came into force on June 1, 1982....

, but they are not otherwise the subject of any international treaty or legislation.

The blood sport
Blood sport
Bloodsport or blood sport is any sport or entertainment that involves violence against animals.Bloodsport includes coursing or beagling, combat sports such as cockfighting and dog fighting, or other activities...

 of badger-baiting
Badger-baiting
Badger-baiting or badger baiting is a blood sport in which badgers are baited. A baiting session typically results in the death of the badger, and possibly serious injuries to the dogs.-Background:...

 was outlawed in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835
Cruelty to Animals Act 1835
The Cruelty to Animals Act 1835 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom , which was intended to protect animals from mistreatment....

 as well as the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 which makes it a serious offense to kill, injure or take a badger, or to damage or interfere with a sett unless a license is obtained from a statutory authority. An exemption that allowed fox hunters to loosely block setts to prevent chased foxes escaping into them was brought to an end with the passage of the Hunting Act 2004
Hunting Act 2004
The Hunting Act 2004 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The effect of the Act is to outlaw hunting with dogs in England and Wales from 18 February 2005...

.

Many badgers in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 were gassed during the 1960s and 1970s to control rabies
Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals. It is zoonotic , most commonly by a bite from an infected animal. For a human, rabies is almost invariably fatal if post-exposure prophylaxis is not administered prior to the onset of severe symptoms...

. Until the 1980s, gassing was also practiced in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 to control the spread of bovine TB.

The dachshund
Dachshund
The dachshund is a short-legged, long-bodied dog breed belonging to the hound family. The standard size dachshund was bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature dachshund was developed to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits...

 dog breed has a history with badgers; "dachs" is the German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 word for badger, and dachshunds were originally bred to be badger hounds.

Commercial use



Today badgers are commercially raised for their hair, which is harvested to make shaving brushes
Shave brush
The term shave brush or shaving brush refers to a small brush with a handle parallel to the bristles used to apply shaving soap or shaving cream to the face when shaving. They are often decorative; the handle is sometimes made from fine materials such as ivory or even gold, though the bristle load...

. Virtually all commercial badger hair comes from mainland China, which supplies knots of hair in three grades to brush makers in both China and Europe. In rural Northern China, badgers multiply to the point of becoming a crop nuisance, and village cooperatives are licensed by the national government to hunt badgers and process their hair. The hair is also used for paint brushes, and was used as a trim on Native American garments. It has been used in some instances as doll hair.

Food


Although rarely eaten today in the United States or the United Kingdom, badger was once one of the main meat sources in the diets of Native Americans and white colonists. Badgers were also eaten in Britain during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the 1950s.

In Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, the consumption of badger meat is still widespread. Shish kebabs made from badger, along with dog meat and pork, are cited as a major source of trichinellosis outbreaks in the Altai region of Russia. Consumption of badger meat also occurs in other European countries such as Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, where it is used in a variation of the traditional dish of goulash
Goulash
Goulash is a soup or stew of meat, noodles and vegetables , seasoned with paprika and other spices. Originating in Hungary, goulash is also a popular meal in Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Romania, Scandinavia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the north-eastern Italian region of Friuli Venezia...

. In contrast to Russia, there are no reports of trichinellosis related to the consumption of badger meat. This is credited to adequate preparation of the meat and good thermal processing of it.

In France, badger meat was used in the preparation of several dishes, such as Blarieur au sang and it was a relatively common ingredient in countryside cuisine. Badger meat was eaten in some parts of Spain until recently Some Asian countries have traditions of consuming badger meat. In Japan, it is mentioned in folktales where it is regarded as a food for the humble.

Popular culture


Badger characters are featured in author Brian Jacques
Brian Jacques
James Brian Jacques was an English author best known for his Redwall series of novels and Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series. He also completed two collections of short stories entitled The Ribbajack & Other Curious Yarns and Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales.-Biography:Brian Jacques was born...

' Redwall
Redwall
Redwall, by Brian Jacques, is a series of fantasy novels. It is the title of the first book of the series, published in 1986, the name of the Abbey featured in the book, and the name of an animated TV series based on three of the novels , which first aired in 1999...

series, most often falling under the title of Badger Lord or Badger Mother, and the 19th century poem "The Badger" by John Clare
John Clare
John Clare was an English poet, born the son of a farm labourer who came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside and his lamentation of its disruption. His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is often now considered to be among...

 describes a badger hunt and badger-baiting
Badger-baiting
Badger-baiting or badger baiting is a blood sport in which badgers are baited. A baiting session typically results in the death of the badger, and possibly serious injuries to the dogs.-Background:...

. The character Frances in Russell Hoban
Russell Hoban
Russell Conwell Hoban is an American writer, now living in England, of fantasy, science fiction, mainstream fiction, magic realism, poetry, and children's books-Biography:...

's children's books is a badger. A badger god is featured in The Immortals
The Immortals (series)
The Immortals quartet, by Tamora Pierce, is the story of Veralidaine Sarrasri , an orphan with an unusual talent: she can speak with animals.-Plot Summary:...

 by Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce is an author of fantasy literature for young adults. She is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania. Best known for writing stories involving young heroines, she made a name for herself with her first quartet The Song of the Lioness, which followed the main character Alanna...

 and "The Badger" is a comic book hero created by Mike Baron
Mike Baron
Mike Baron is the creator of comic books Badger and Nexus. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.-Biography:Mike Baron broke into comics with an illustrated text piece in the 1974 debut issue of Marvel Comics's Comix Book...

.

Many other stories featuring badgers as characters include Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Mr. Tod
The Tale of Mr. Tod
The Tale of Mr. Tod is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, first published by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1912. The tale is about a badger called Tommy Brock and his neighbour Mr. Tod, a fox. Brock kidnaps the children of Benjamin Bunny and his wife Flopsy, and hides them in...

(Tommy Brock), the Rupert Bear
Rupert Bear
Rupert Bear is a children's comic strip character, who features in a series of books based around his adventures. The character was created by the English artist Mary Tourtel and first appeared in the Daily Express on 8 November 1920. Rupert's initial purpose was to win sales from the rival...

 adventures by Mary Tourtel, Prince Caspian
Prince Caspian
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia is a novel for children by C. S. Lewis, written in late 1949 and first published in 1951. It is the second-published book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, although in the overall chronological sequence it comes fourth.-Plot summary:While standing on a...

(Trufflehunter) by C. S. Lewis, Kenneth Grahame
Kenneth Grahame
Kenneth Grahame was a Scottish writer, most famous for The Wind in the Willows , one of the classics of children's literature. He also wrote The Reluctant Dragon; both books were later adapted into Disney films....

's The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children's literature by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animal characters in a pastoral version of England...

, T. H. White
T. H. White
Terence Hanbury White was an English author best known for his sequence of Arthurian novels, The Once and Future King, first published together in 1958.-Biography:...

's The Once and Future King
The Once and Future King
The Once and Future King is an Arthurian fantasy novel written by T. H. White. It was first published in 1958 and is mostly a composite of earlier works written in a period between 1938 and 1941....

and The Book of Merlyn
The Book of Merlyn
The Book of Merlyn is an Arthurian fantasy book written by T. H. White. It is the conclusion of The Once and Future King, but it was published separately and posthumously.-Plot summary:...

, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fantastic Mr Fox is a children's novel written by British author Roald Dahl. It was published in 1970 by George Allen & Unwin in the UK and Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S., with illustrations by Donald Chaffin. The book was later published with new illustrations by Jill Bennett, Tony Ross and Quentin...

by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, fighter pilot and screenwriter.Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, he served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence agent, rising to the rank of Wing Commander...

, Colin Dann
Colin Dann
Colin Dann is an English author. He is best known for his The Animals of Farthing Wood series of books, which was subsequently made into an animated series....

's The Animals of Farthing Wood, Richard Adams
Richard Adams
Richard Adams was a non-conforming English Presbyterian divine, known as author of sermons and other theological writings.-Life:...

's Watership Down
Watership Down
Watership Down is a classic heroic fantasy novel, written by English author Richard Adams, about a small group of rabbits. Although the animals in the story live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphised, possessing their own culture, language , proverbs, poetry, and mythology...

and Erin Hunter
Erin Hunter
Erin Hunter is a pseudonym used by the authors Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui Sutherland, along with editor Victoria Holmes. Under this pen name, they have written two series of books. They are best known for the Warriors series, but the authors have also created another similar series called...

's Warriors. In the Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 books, the official mascot of the Hogwarts
Hogwarts
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry or simply Hogwarts is the primary setting for the first six books of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, with each book lasting the equivalent of one school year. It is a fictional boarding school of magic for witches and wizards between the ages of...

 house of Hufflepuff is the badger, featuring this animal in the house's coat of arms as well as in the entire school's. The Hufflepuff common room has little underground tunnels leading to the dormitories, all of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops (much like a badger sett
Sett
A badger sett or set is a badger's den, usually consisting of a network of tunnels. The largest setts are spacious enough to accommodate 15 or more animals, with up to of tunnels and as many as 40 openings. It takes many years for the animals to dig these large setts...

). In The Incident at Hawks Hill by Allan W. Eckert
Allan W. Eckert
Allan W. Eckert was an American historian, historical novelist, and naturalist.-Biography:Eckert was born in Buffalo, New York and raised in the Chicago, Illinois area, but had been a long-time resident of Bellefontaine, Ohio, near where he attended university...

 a badger is one of the main characters.

Badgers are also featured in films and animations: a flash video of "The Badger Song
Badger Badger Badger
"Badger Badger Badger" or "The Badger Song" is a Flash cartoon by British animator Jonti Picking. It consists of images of badgers doing calisthenics, a toadstool in front of a tree, and a snake in the desert...

" shows a group doing calisthenics
Calisthenics
Calisthenics are a form of aerobic exercise consisting of a variety of simple, often rhythmical, movements, generally using multiple equipment or apparatus. They are intended to increase body strength and flexibility with movements such as bending, jumping, swinging, twisting or kicking, using...

; in Pokémon
Pokémon
is a media franchise published and owned by the video game company Nintendo and created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996. Originally released as a pair of interlinkable Game Boy role-playing video games developed by Game Freak, Pokémon has since become the second most successful and lucrative video...

, Typhlosion and Linoone are based on badgers. Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

's 1973 film Robin Hood
Robin Hood (1973 film)
Robin Hood is an 1973 American animated film produced by the Walt Disney Productions, first released in the United States on November 8, 1973...

, depicts the character of Friar Tuck
Friar Tuck
Friar Tuck is a companion to Robin Hood in the legends about that character. He is a common character in modern Robin Hood stories, which depict him as a jovial friar and one of Robin's Merry Men. The figure of Tuck was common in the May Games festivals of England and Scotland during the 15th...

 as a badger.

In Japanese folklore, the badger is a wild creature that sometimes appears as a mischievous being. In Europe, badgers were traditionally used to predict the length of winter. The badger is both the state animal of the U.S. state of Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 and the mascot of the University of Wisconsin's athletic teams. The badger is also the official mascot of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

In 2007 suggestions that British forces deliberately released man-eating badgers
Killer badger
thumb|right|250px|[[Honey badger]]s were the inspiration for the killer badger myth.The killer badger is a creature found in a number of modern urban legends from Basra province, Iraq, where it was said to have attacked both people and livestock...

 near Basra
Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

, Iraq, to intimidate the local population were refuted.

Badgers are found in the game Dwarf Fortress
Dwarf Fortress
Slaves to Armok: God of Blood, Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress, also called Slaves to Armok II: Dwarf Fortress, but most commonly known simply as Dwarf Fortress, is a freeware computer game by Bay 12 Games for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X set in a high fantasy universe that combines aspects of...

, are found in groups of three to six, are extremely quick, and are prone to rage. Dwarves may like them for their underground communities and their striped faces.

External links