Pest Guides

The European or Eurasian Badger

Meles meles

Appearance

Badger
  • Badgers have a small head, a short, thick neck, short tail and small eyes
  • Badgers have a distinctive black and white striped head and white fur on the end of their ears.
  • Length is up to 750mm from head to tail – with a 150mm tail
  • Badgers weigh between 8 and 10 kgs but male badgers are slightly larger than females
  • The Eurasian/European badger is indigenous to most of Western Europe and many parts of Asia.

Lifecycle

  • Badgers mate throughout the year but fertilised eggs remain suspended in the uterus until winter when they implant on to the womb and continue development normally.
  • After implanting on to the womb gestation is 6 to 7 weeks
  • The size of a Badger’s litter ranges from 1 – 5 but is usually 2 or 3
  • Badger cubs are suckled underground for up to 8 weeks and only emerge in Spring.
  • Cubs are weaned at twelve weeks.
  • Female badgers reach sexual maturity after 12-15 months but male badgers do not sexually mature until their second year
  • Although the usual life span of a badger should be between 12 and 15 years many die prematurely through disease, dehydration in dry weather and human influences

Habits

 
  • Badgers are omnivores and earthworms are their staple diet. They also eat beetles, slugs, insect larvae, mice, fruit and many plant bulbs.
  • Badgers are nocturnal and only emerge at dusk to forage for food.
  • They live in ‘Setts’ with several adult males and females and one or two litters
  • Some setts may have been used by several generations of badgers resulting in multiple entrances and chambers and have been known to cover large tracts of land
  • Badgers do not hibernate in winter but do become less active.
  • Both the badger and its sett are protected by law in some countries.