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Badger by Timothy J Roper

By Timothy J Roper

The badger is a big mammal, universal yet very infrequently noticeable in Britain, which has develop into one in all Britain's best-loved animals. This quantity unearths the extreme complicated lifestyle that permits this secretive animal to stay in even the main built-up components of Britain.

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The ferret badgers, by contrast, are small (1–3 kg), nimble, tree-climbing predators with thin bodies, long bushy tails and sharp, pointed snouts. In many aspects of their habits and morphology, therefore, the ferret badgers resemble martens or weasels more than they do the other true badgers. Nevertheless, from an evolutionary point of view, it is the American badger that is the least closely related to the Eurasian badger. , 2004: see Fig. , 2008: see Fig. 5). 5 million years ago. The Eurasian badger and Asian hog badgers are therefore the most closely related of all the so-called ‘badgers’.

Consequently, these finds suggest deliberate transportation of badgers, probably in quite small numbers and presumably as carcasses. We can only guess as to why Bronze Age humans might have taken badgers to their settlements on remote Scottish Islands. However, badgers provide several valuable commodities including meat, leather, pelts, bristles and fat, and it seems likely that they have been hunted for these commodities since ancient times (Griffiths, 1991). As regards the hunting of badgers for food, there is documentary evidence that badger meat was eaten by Roman legionnaires, including those garrisoned in northern Europe; and badger bones with cut marks suggestive of butchering, dating to the 16th or 17th century AD, have been recovered from two sites in Scotland (Davies, 1971; Fairnell & Barrett, 2007).

The American badger is found throughout the western and central states of the USA and penetrates into Mexico as far south as Puebla, while the hog badgers and ferret badgers are found in east and southeast Asia. In morphological and behavioural terms, the American badger and the hog badger have quite a lot in common with the Eurasian badger, insofar as all three FIG 6. (a) American badger Taxidea taxus (US Fish and Wildlife Service); (b) Eurasian badger Meles meles (H. Clark); (c) Asian hog badger Arctonyx collaris (Namdapha Wildlife Monitoring Programme, Nature Conservation Foundation, India); (d) The large-toothed ferret badger Melogale personata, one of four species of ferret badger.

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