Facts about badgers

The badger population is on the rise in the United Kingdom, leading the government to take several measures aimed at controlling the population due to the TB risks associated with badgers. While reading the news, it is also important to understand a bit about this interesting and colourful species.

What do badgers eat?

Badgers eat a high protein diet, like other carniverous mammals. Their prey can be found near their burrows, this consists mostly of land grubs, earthworms and insects, which provide a high amount of the badger’s nutrition needs. Badgers are also known to eat the eggs and babies of small birds, as well as other small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Roots and fruit also sometimes work their way into a badger’s diet when they are available.  In UK, badgers also famously hunt hedgehogs, and is one of the known predator of the small animal. Because of this, Britain has a substantially lower population of hedgehogs compared to other nations.

Where do the badgers live?

Badgers make their home in underground burrows, similar to other mammals that take up residence under the earth. The burrow particular to the badger is known as a sett, and these homes are typically occupied by an entire family of badgers. The extent of the underground burrow differs depending on the family, but these are usually a system of rooms and tunnels dug out by the badgers themselves. The burrows can be found in moist soil usually near a water source. Some badgers are more solitary, and choose to move from burrow to burrow instead.

By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/modoc/wildlife.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What do honey badgers eat?

The honey badger is a fierce animal with a sweet sounding name. Despite having a similar sounding name, the honey badger does not resemble the badger in many ways, and is actually more similar to the weasel. The honey badger is mostly solitary but will hunt in pairs, and its diet is most like the wolverine’s in the weasel family.Honey badgers have one of the least specialized diets in the animal kingdom, meaning they can eat a wide host of items. Honey badgers will eat honey, from which they get their name, and will actually raid bee hives to get a fix. They also eat insects, small mammals, frogs, tortoises, rodents, as well as berries, roots and bulbs. They have an incredibly varied palette. Honey badgers have even been known to have the ability to chase away young lions from prey they want.

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