The European Badger (Meles meles) is a mammal in the Mustelidae family. It is also known as the Eurasian Badger.
The European Badger has a small tapered head, a stocky body, small black eyes, and a short tail. It has short plantigrade feet with five toes on each foot, which means that all parts of its feet make contact with the ground. It has long, sharp claws for digging. Its claws are not retractable. Their long snouts are also used for digging.
It has black, grey, brown, and white fur. Before winter, its fur is mainly black, with a lighter belly. It has two black bands along its head, and there is a wide, white band from its nose to its crown. Its summer fur is much coarser, shorter and sparser, and is deeper in color, with the black tones becoming brownish.
It measures 25-30 centimetres (10-12 inches) tall and 60-90 centimetres (24-35 inches) in length.
The European Badger is native to almost all of Europe and some parts of Asia.
It is nocturnal, active at night. It burrows into its den, called a sett, to sleep during the day time. It is a carnivore, mainly eating meat, such as rabbits, mice, shrews, moles, and hedgehogs. It also feeds on plants, earthworms, and insects.
It is a social animal living in small groups of about six individuals.
The setts house several badger families. Badgers are very fussy over the cleanliness of their burrow, carrying in fresh bedding and removing soiled material. It hibernates (sleeps) during winter.
The female is pregnant for about 50 days, before giving birth to 1-5 young, called cubs. Cubs are born pink and blind. They open their eyes after 28-35 days.
The European Badger can live up to about 15 years in the wild.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM