Badgers are predators. There are four types of them. One of them lives in Europe. The badger feeds on plants and small animals. It was Wild Animal of the Year 2010 in Germany and Austria. The aim was to draw particular attention to this reclusive animal.
The badger’s body, with its short legs, is well suited for burrows. It grows a little less than a meter long. There is also a short tail. A badger weighs about 10 kilograms, which is about the same as a medium-sized dog. The badger is best recognized by the black and white stripes on its head. He has a long snout that looks a bit like a pig.
How do badgers live?
The badger lives in forests that are not too dense. But he also loves areas with shrubs. He digs his burrow on a slope. Badger burrows can be huge and have multiple floors. Several entrances and exits serve to supply fresh air and as escape routes. The badger pads the living space of the den with dry leaves, moss, and ferns.
Badgers prefer to feed on earthworms, which they dig out of the ground. But beetles and insects or small mammals are also part of their diets, such as mice, moles, or young wild rabbits. Even young hedgehogs can eat them: they roll them onto their backs and bite open their bellies.
However, badgers are not pure carnivores. They eat grain, many types of seeds, and roots or acorns. They also like berries from a garden or fruit from farmers.
Badgers live together in clans. They groom each other’s fur with their snouts or front paws. Where they cannot reach themselves, they groom each other’s fur. Young badgers in particular like to play with each other or scuffle without hurting each other.
How do badgers breed?
Badgers usually mate in spring. However, the fertilized egg cell does not continue to develop until December. One, therefore, speaks of dormancy. The actual pregnancy lasts about 45 days, i.e. six to seven weeks. The young are then born in January.
Usually, there are twins or triplets. Each animal weighs around 100 grams, which is as heavy as a bar of chocolate. The young have little hair and are blind. They drink milk from their mother for about twelve weeks. It is also said: They are suckled by their mother. That is why badgers are mammals.
Young badgers can only see after about four to five weeks. Shortly thereafter, they move through the corridors of the building. They go outside when they are about ten weeks old.
Young badgers stay in the group until they are about two years old. Then they become sexually mature. They leave their group, mate, and have young. They can live to be 15 years old.
What enemies do badgers have?
Badgers used to have three main enemies that they liked to eat: the wolf, the lynx, and the brown bear. But today there aren’t many of them anymore. In addition, people hunted him because they liked to eat his meat. From its fat, they made ointments against all kinds of diseases.
Worse for the badgers, however, was the fight of humans against rabid foxes. Toxic gas was directed into the fox dens. However, this gas also reached the badgers, killing many of them. A number of badgers are also dying in traffic today. However, the badger is not threatened with extinction.