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Badgers are small, wedge-shaped mustelids that can be found around the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. They have stocky bodies and short legs. They belong to the same family as otters, ferrets, weasels, minks, and wolverines.
See the fact file below for more information on the badgers or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Badger worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Naming and Etymology
- The name “badger” comes from the word “bageard” referring to the long white patch on its head. Another derivation is the Old French word “baesant.”
- A male European badger is called a boar.
- A female badger is called a sow.
- A young badger is called a cub.
Population and Distribution
- There are 11 species of badgers under three subfamilies, namely the Melinae, Mellivorinae, and Taxideinae subfamilies.
- Badgers prefer to inhabit open fields and dry grasslands.
- Badgers are located mostly in North America, East Asia (like China and Japan), and parts of Europe (Great Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia).
- Some species live in Southeast Asia, like the Bornean ferret-badger in Malaysia.
- The honey badger is found in particular regions of sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian Desert, and India.
- Badgers can reach a length of between 20 to 34 inches from head to tail and can weigh between 9 and 39 pounds, depending on the species.
- Badgers are short-legged, which is advantageous in digging.
- They have wide, stocky bodies.
- Their heads are similar to that of weasels.
- They have a black face with white patterns and a gray body and dark legs.
- Their gray bodies may be blended with brown, red, and black with light underbellies.
- They have tiny ears, rough hair, and wide feet with long claws.
- The length of badgers’ tails varies: some have very short tails (like stink badgers) while some have very long tails (like ferret badgers).
- The jawbones of badgers connect to their skulls which limits their jaw movement, but makes them resistant to jaw dislocation.
- Aside from moving their jaws from side to side or hinging them open and shut, badgers are not able to twist their jaws like most mammals.
- They have a strong bite grip.
- Badgers have a sharp sense of smell but have poor hearing and eyesight.
- Their great sense of smell helps them find food.
Ecology and Behavior
- Badgers live underground in extensive burrows known as setts.
- Badgers are territorial mammals.
- In a territory, there are multiple setts, but the main sett is the largest.
- Badgers do not bring food nor defecate in their setts.
- They excrete feces in latrines, their version of communal toilets, which are shallow pits.
- Badgers are either solitary and migrate from one home to another, or sociable and form close-knit groups called cetes.
- The number of badgers comprising cetes varies.
- Cetes can be from a pair of badgers to a group of 15.
- Badgers are active at night making them nocturnal.
- Badgers are omnivores.
- Badgers are less active during the winter season. They undergo cycles of torpor for up to 29 hours.
- Badgers are able to run up to 19 miles per hour for short periods of time.
- Badgers give birth usually between January and March.
- A female badger may bear between one and five cubs at a time.
- Female badgers take care of the litter on their own.
- Cubs stay in the underground litter until they are eight weeks old.
- Cubs are mature enough to hunt for food once they turn 4 to 6 months old.
Different Types of Badgers
- Eurasian badgers eat earthworms, grubs, hedgehogs, insects, and young ground-nesting birds. They also consume amphibians and fruit.
- Sometimes, Eurasian badgers eat chickens and rabbits.
- Honey badgers climb trees to get honey from beehives. Their diet includes honey, porcupines, and at times, snakes.
- American badgers hunt their food underground. They do this by digging and going after ground-dwelling rodents.
More Interesting Facts
- Other badger species include the hog badger, the Japanese badger, and the Asian badger.
- Bobcats, cougars, coyotes, and golden eagles are the common predators of badgers.
- Badgers can live between 4 and 10 years in the wild, but some species reach a lifespan of 14 years.
- Native Americans used to eat badger meat.
- Badger meat was also eaten in Britain during the Second World War.
- Badger meat is still eaten now in some parts of Spain and Russia.
- Badgers can be kept as pets, except in United Kingdom, where the 1992 Protection of Badgers Act keeps anyone from owning or selling badgers as pets.
- In the past, badger-baiting was a popular bloodsport, for which dachshunds were bred.
- The pelts of badgers are used for commercial products like shaving brushes.
- In the 1960s, badgers in Europe were gassed to reduce their population, also known as badger culling.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about badgers across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Badger worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the badgers which are small, wedge-shaped mustelids that can be found around the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. They have stocky bodies and short legs. They belong to the same family as otters, ferrets, weasels, minks, and wolverines.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Badger Facts
- Spot the Badger
- The Badger’s Body
- Badger Blanks
- The Mustelidae Family
- Sort the Species
- What’s The Difference?
- How’s and Why’s
- A Day In The Life
- Caption This
- Badger Art
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Link will appear as Badger Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 8, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.