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Badger

The Badger is a mammal of the family mustelidae, sub-families melinae[?] (Eurasian badgers), mellivorinae[?] (ratel or honey badger), and taxidiinae[?] (American badger).


American Badger
(Larger image)

The Eurasian badger (Meles meles) is found across Europe and Asia. Around 90 cm long and weighs on average 10 kg. It is a nocturnal mammal with a distinctive black and white striped face and lighter upperparts. They are omnivorous and territorial but can be found in groups (called clans) of up to 12, living in extensive underground homes called setts. Males are called boars and females sows, the young are called cubs. Badgers live for three to eight years (up to twelve in captivity) if they survive their first year, the most common cause of death is by road traffic.

Accepted subspecies include meles (Western Europe), marianensis (Spain and Portugal), leptorynchus (Russia), leucurus (China and Tibet), and anaguma (Japan).

Cultural aspects The badger's skill at digging has led to folk beliefs that the animal's paws give good luck in childbirth. The Pueblo consider the badger great healers and believe them to be intimately connected to their shamans. Japanese legends include shapeshifting badgers. The American badger (Taxidea taxus, subspecies taxus, jacksoni, jeffersoni, and berlandieri).

The Ferret badgers (Melogale moschata (Chinese), Melogale personata (Burmese), and Melogale everetti (Everett's)).

The Hog badger (Arctonyx collaris).

The Honey badger (Mellivora capensis)

The Stink badger (Mydaus javanensis (Indonesian) and Mydaus marchei (Palawan))

BADGER, the common name for any animal of the Musteline[?] subfamily Melinae[?] or the typical genus Meles[?]. The name is probably derived from? badge,? device, on account of the marks on the head; or it may be identical with the term separately noticed below, the French blai~reau being used in both senses.

The members of the typical genus have the lower jaw so articulated to the upper, by means of a transverse condyle firmly locked into a long cavity of the cranium, that dislocation of the jaw is all but impossible, and this enables those creatures to maintain their hold with the utmost tenacity. The European badger (Meles taxus or M. meles) is from 25 to 29 inches in length, with a tail of about 8 in,; the general hue of the fur is grey above and black on the under parts; the head is white, with a black stripe on each side. In habits it may be taken as typical of the subfamily.

It is nowhere abundant, but is found over the northern parts of Europe and Asia, and is a quiet, inoffensive animal, nocturnal and solitary in its habits, sleeping by day in its burrow, and issuing forth at night to feed on roots, beech-mast, fruits, the eggs of birds, ?small quadrupeds, frogs and insects. It is said also to dig up the nests of wasps in order to eat the larvae, as the rate!?

A closely affiliated South African form is said to rob the bees of their honey. The male and female are seldom seen together, and are supposed to trace each other by the odour of the secretion in the anal glands. Fossil remains of the badger have been found in England in deposits of Pleistocene age.

In eastern Persia this species is replaced by the Persian badger (M. canescens); two species?the white-tailed badger (M. leucurus) and the Chinese badger (M. chinensis) occur in eastern Asia; and another (K. anacuma) is found in Japan.

The American badger (Taxidea taxus) ranges over the greater part of the western and central United States as well as northern Mexico and southern Canada. Like the Old World badgers it is a powerful digger, but some of its behaviors differ from those of its relatives. T. taxus is more carnivorous than the Meles species, and does not inhabit a permanent sett, or burrow. Unless it is courting or rearing young, the American badger lives apart from others of its kind. It hunts, wanders and sleeps in temporary burrows within a given territory, often inhabiting holes excavated by other animals and sometimes even sharing space with the original tenants.

The Malay badger (Mydaus meliceps) is confined to the mountains of Java (where it is called the teledu), Sumatra and Borneo. The head and body are about 15 in. long, and the tail no more than an inch; the fur is dark brown, with the top of the head, neck and a broad dorsal stripe, white. Like the skunk, this animal can eject the foetid secretion of the anal glands. The sand-badgers (Arelonyx) ar~ Asiatic; the best-known species (A. collaris) ranges from the eastern Himalayas to Burma; the smaller A. Laxoides is found in Assam, Arakan and perhaps in China; and there is probably another in Tibet. In these the tail is much longer in proportion to the body than in the rest of the group.

The badger does not usually seek to attack, but, when driven to bay, its great muscular power and tough hide render it a formidable antagonist. The cruel sport of badger-baiting was formerly popular throughout Great Britain, but was ?prohibited about the middle of the 19th century, together with bear-baiting and bull-baiting.

External References

http://www.badgers.org.uk/badgerpages/index

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2. Badger, was also, in English, a term of uncertain derivation (possibly derived from bagger, in allusion to the hawker's bag) for a dealer in food, such as corn or victuals (more expressly, fish, butter or cheese), which he has purchased in one place and brought for sale to another place; an itinerant dealer, corresponding to the modern hawker or huckster. An English statute of 1552 which summarized, and prescribed penalties against, the offences of engrossing, forestalling and regrating, specially exempted badgers from these penalties, but required them to be licensed by three justices of the peace for the county in which they dwelt. A statute of 1562-1563, after declaring that many people took up the trade of badgering seeking only to live easily and to leave their honest labour, enacted that badgers should be licensed for a year only, should be householders of three years standing in the county in which they were licensed, and should enter ihto recognizances not to engross or forestall. An act of 1844 abolished the offence of badgering, and repealed the statutes passed in relation to it. The word is now archaic in this respect, and probably obsolete.



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