Guide to Badgers
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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.

 

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