The Eurasian Badger or European Badger is a social omnivorous mammal that has a sturdy-built body and a short tail with solid limbs.
They are a well-known species in Europe and some parts of Asia.
Badgers usually live in large family groups with an extensive network of burrows under the ground called ‘Setts’.
The European badger is easily recognizable due to its dark stripes stretching from its nose towards the eyes and ears and separated by a white stripe in the center. Due to their omnivorous type, they feed on every fruit and meat.
- Geographic Range
- Physical Appearance
- Size & Weight
- Shelter Needs
- Weather Compatibility
- Ecosystem Roles
- Economic Importance For Humans
- Interesting Facts about European Badgers
- European Badger FAQs
European Badgers (Meles meles) are the UK’s largest land predators and one of the most famous British species. These European badgers are common all through the Palearctic locale. They are available from as far west as Ireland and Spain toward the eastern edges of Russia, China, and Japan. The northern limit of the European badger run stretches out to the Russian Arctic Circle and Finland, and the southern limit happens along the southeastern shore of China.
European badgers are profoundly versatile and live in a wide assortment of situations. They are a well-evolved creature that dwells in forest, fields, woodlands, urban parks, suburbs, deciduous, and conifer. Furthermore, they may also live in scrubs, hedges, steppes, semi-deserts, riverine, and rock covered areas that will cover the passageway to their sett.
European badgers are intensely fabricated warm-blooded animals that have a stocky body with short strong limbs and a short tail. The bottoms of their feet are bare and they have solid paws that are extended with sharp nails used for digging the ground.
They have little eyes, little ears, and a long head. The skull is large with a noticeable pointed peak. Their teeth includes noticeable canines, leveled molars, and little incisors. They usually have a ochre-colored coat or a mix of grey and ochre, with the abdomen area being dark grey or black.
Size & Weight
- Grown-ups are generally 70 to 100 cm (2 – 3.5 ft) long.
- Weight changes occasionally; grown-ups generally weigh 6 to 7 kg (13 – 15 lbs) in summer and 12 to 14 kg (26 – 31 lbs) in winter.
- Normal grown-up weight in pre-winter is about 12kg; that for spring is around 9kg (20 lbs).
- A female badger’s weight extends from 6.6 to 13.9 kg.
- Males and females do not differ in head-body length, which ranges from 56 cm to 90 cm.
- Tail length ranges from 11.5 cm to 20.2 cm.
The average lifespan is 2 years, though in rare cases it may live up to 6-7 years in the wild. In captivity, badgers may live up to 19 years. Death rates of offspring inside their first year are high, going from 50 to 65%. The death rate for grown-ups is 30% for males and 24% for females.
The territories of Eurasian badgers depend on the availability of food, which means when food availability is low in an area, home ranges to be larger and if food availability is high, the territorial range is small. Territories of 20 to 50 ha (50 – 124 ac.) common in rich habitats; 150 ha (370 ac.) or more in poorer regions.
European badgers are omnivores, so they are pioneering hunters that consume nuts, fruits, corn, tubers, and cereal crops as well as insects, earthworms, slugs, and snails. They likewise eat little vertebrates, for example, moles, mice, rats, shrews, rabbits, and when available they also eat small amphibians and reptiles such as frogs, snakes, lizards, and newts.
Contrasted with most different species belonging to Mustelidae, European badgers are very gregarious. These badgers are social creatures that live in colonies of 6 to 20 badgers, composed of multiple males, non-breeding and breeding females, and baby badgers. European Badgers generally get active around evening time, looking for their prey.
European Badger families make and dwell in a system of underground passage known as a sett or den. Their powerful built forelimbs permit them to tunnel quickly through the dirt and different substrates. Few of the setts are sufficiently huge to house more than twelve badgers and can have burrows that are as much as 1,000 feet in length with various openings to the surface. Badgers uncover their setts in very much depleted soils that are anything but difficult to dive in. The passages are 2–6 feet underneath the outside of the ground and the badgers frequently build huge chambers where they rest or care for their young.
They keep themselves warm in winters by hiding in their setts. Like bears – badgers experience winter rest during which they become less dynamic yet their internal heat level doesn’t drop as it does in full hibernation. In pre-fall, badgers start to put on the weight so that they can consume this stored energy through their winter rest period.
European badgers essentially go after invertebrates and may help control certain creepy-crawly bug populaces. They are also considered important for the ecosystem, because of their powerful burrowing ability. This helps in aerating soils, enhancing soil moisture levels, increasing diversity of plant species near their dens, and churn up the seed bank. Furthermore, their tunnels provide a safe space for various small animal species.
Economic Importance For Humans
Being wild or dangerous European badgers may still be helpful for humans as they help to control the population of wasp and hedgehog and their hair are widely used in producing shaving brushes and their skin is often used to make rugs and mats.
However, they may also have a negative impact on humans such as they can damage crops and fruit gardens. These Eurasian badgers are also known for poultry killings and for damaging fences, gardens, buildings due to digging. European badgers are vectors for tuberculosis and may periodically transmit the malady to dairy cattle, which is especially expensive to farmers or menacing for cattle as well.
Interesting Facts about European Badgers
- The European badger is a species of badgers.
- It belongs to the family of Mustelidae.
- Its genus is Meles.
- European badgers have a powerful short sturdy body with a thick short neck, small head, powerful limbs, and a short tail.
- They have little ears, little eyes, and a huge skull with a noticeable sagittal peak and short, triangular paroccipital forms.
- European badgers have a large grey fur on them with a black and white striped face.
- Eurasian badgers are native to almost all of Europe and some parts of Asia.
- The badger can run up to 30 km/h (19 mph) for a short period of time.
- They have a length of 56-90cm excluding 15cm of the tail and weigh around 8 to 12 Kg.
- European badgers have an average lifespan of 5-8 years and in captivity, badgers may live up to 19 years.
- A male Eurasian badger is called a “boar”, a female is called a “sow” and baby badgers are called “cubs”.
- European badgers like to reside in woodlands, forests, urban parks, subshrubs, steppes, and rocky terrains.
- Territories of 20 to 50 ha (50 – 124 ac.) common in rich habitats; 150 ha (370 ac.) or more in food-deprived regions.
- As being omnivorous European badgers eat everything that comes under their sharp claws such as fruits, nuts, corns, crops, insects, reptiles, slugs, snails, mice, shrews, moles, rabbits, rats, eggs, birds and more.
- Eurasian badgers are of friendly nature and live in large extensive groups.
- They dwell in setts with extensive burrows. Even some of their dens are so large as the size of the house.
- Badgers are so sensible and hygienic that they don’t defecate in their setts. They have separately built latrine tunnels for this purpose. They also don’t eat or bring food to their setts.
- Eurasian badgers have a nocturnal behavior and prefer to remain in their setts in winters.
- European badgers help to control the population of insects.
- Eurasian badgers can also be helpful for humans, as they help to control the population of hedgehogs and wasps while their coat hairs are also being used to produce shaving brushes. Their fur is widely used to make rugs.
European Badger FAQs
Are European Badgers Dangerous?
European badgers are not found harmful to humans. They are extremely reluctant to get in touch with humans and wouldn’t attack you unless you try to threaten or annoy them. In rear cases, if a badger is wounded or feels threatened by the presence of humans, then it will attack in self-defense, with its sharp claws and teeth that are enough to cause you a sharp pain.
In short, European badger attacks on humans are rare but they do happen. The animal would often try to escape if left unbothered. Although if you’re attempting to irritate or catch them, it might cause the Badger to bite or assault you violently.
Can European Badgers Become Good Pets?
Badgers aren’t friendly to humans, or to other creatures. They are neither considered faithful to their owners nor friendly towards another animals. It is due to their wild instincts and aggressive nature.
Do European Badgers Hibernate?
European Badgers do not truly hibernate, however, they do experience winter rest during which they become less active and prefer staying inside their setts for several weeks. They eat a lot and put on weight in pre-fall, and store this energy and extra fat to be consumed later during their mini winter hibernation period.
Where Do European Badgers Live In Europe?
The European badger is native to most of Europe. Its European range includes Netherlands, Spain, Latvia, Montenegro, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Republic, Sweden, Croatia, Great Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Romania, Austria, Albania, Crete, Ireland, Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Ukraine, Denmark, Lithuania, Portugal, Czech, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Britain, Moldova, Switzerland Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Norway, and France.
|European Badger Overview|
|A social omnivorous mammal that has a sturdy-built body and a short tail with solid limbs.|
a stocky body with short strong limbs, a short tail, little eyes, little ears, and a long pointed skull
Gray with ochre shading – Dark abdomen
Maximum – 3.5 ft, Minimum – 2 ft
Summer Weight – 6 to 7 kg, Winter Weight – 12 to 14 kg
Pests, Insects, Invertebrates, Rats, Fish, Amphibians
Maximum – 8 years, Minimum – 5 years