Badgers are short-legged omnivores mostly in the family Mustelidae which also includes the otters , polecats , weasels , and ferrets , but also with two species called "badgers" in the related family Mephitidae which also includes the skunks. Badgers are a polyphyletic grouping, and are not a natural taxonomic grouping: badgers are united by their squat bodies, adapted for fossorial activity. All belong to the caniform suborder of carnivoran mammals. The eleven species of mustelid badgers are grouped in four subfamilies: Melinae four species, including the European badger , Helictidinae five species of ferret-badger , Mellivorinae the honey badger or ratel , and Taxideinae the American badger ; the respective genera are Arctonyx , Meles , Melogale , Mellivora and Taxidea. Badgers include the most basal mustelids; the American badger is the most basal of all, followed successively by the ratel and the Melinae; the estimated split dates are about
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THE FASCINATING LIVES OF BADGERS
Badger - Wikipedia
A combination of long guard hairs in the coat and tough loosely-anchored skin that needs to accommodate significant fat deposits during the autumn provide the shaggy appearance, while the short legs and stocky, muscular build particularly around the neck and shoulders gives the distinct impression of power. Indeed, in February , the BBC's Winterwatch filmed badgers moving rocks weighing up to 20kg 44 lbs to get at food underneath; this is about twice the weight of the average badger. All four feet are equipped with six pads five toes and one plantar and long non-retractable claws, although the claws on the front feet are larger and thicker than those on the hind paws. The front paws are also larger and broader than the hind ones, being used primarily for excavation. The strong claws, broad pads and muscular chest and legs make badgers highly efficient diggers, but also proficient swimmers and tree climbers.
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Portrait of an adult Badger (Meles meles), Derbyshire, UK
Badgers are short, stout, powerful animals that live in underground 'setts' that can extend well over 50 metres long! Members of the mustelid family which includes pine martens, otters, polecats, ferrets and the wolverine , the European badgers' range extends from Britain, across Europe and to the middle east. Our video library above shows great examples of badger behaviour so let's take a few minutes to go over the basics so you know what you are watching. In the UK, badgers live in mixed-sex groups of between four and eight animals in underground 'setts'.
Big families, big appetites and big personalities. Badgers are a wood's ruling clan, often occupying the same sett for generations and laying a network of well-trodden paths through the undergrowth. Setts are excavated in soft earth, sometimes at the base of trees.
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