Guide to Badgers
Biologically labelled as Meles meles, badgers are interesting
and marvelous nocturnal creatures. Badgers belong to
the family of mammals consisting pine marten, otters,
stoat, polecat, and weasel, all of which have musk-bearing
glands under their tails. A mature adult badger measures
about 30 inches from head to tail. The tail is normally
up to six inches long and the weight of a badger is
between 10-12 kg. Female badgers are slightly smaller
than male badgers. The fur covering the badger’s
body is a mixture of black and white. As a result, a
badger appears grey in color from far. The chest and
forepaws of the badger is black in color. Badgers have
very prominent heads striped in black and white, while
their ears look white.
Copses and thick woods are the natural habitats of badgers.
Most badger habitats are adjacent to green pastureland.
Occasionally badgers are also found in suburban areas.
Badgers are widely distributed throughout UK. More numbers
of badgers are found in wild wet areas of south and
southwest UK while the number is very less in farmed,
flat areas and at lands above 900m. The sound of badgers
is called whickering. Sometimes, the adults scream for
unknown reasons. Growling or barking in badgers is a
sign of warning and purring is a sign of pleasure.
Badgers mate during the month of July. However, most
implantations take 2-10 months. Following this, the
badgers get properly pregnant for around seven weeks.
Normally, badgers give birth to 2 or 3 cubs sometime
in between January and March. At birth, the cubs are
usually blind with a dirty white fur covering the upper
part of their bodies. Many cubs do not survive their
first year. The cubs that survive beyond live up to
five years or a little more.
Badgers live in groups comprising around 15 animals.
The house of badgers is called sett. A sett consists
of a regular home as well as a nesting chamber. All
along the sett, there is a lining of moss and grass,
which are frequently replaced with new collection. Badgers
have large canine teeth and are grouped under carnivores.
However, they are omnivorous in nature. The main line
of badger’s food consists of beetles, earthworms,
voles, frogs, mice, wasps and snails besides beech mast,
fruits, bulbs, acorns, and roots.
Quite interestingly, badgers are described as the oldest
landowners in Britain in heralding them as the oldest
inhabitants of the Island. Many badgers face their death
at the hands of hunters, gamekeepers and farmers. Dogs
and foxes sometimes kill the cubs. Road and rail accidents
also cause the deaths of badgers.