Mammal Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Meles meles
"Eurasian Badger


Distinguishing Features - Length: average 0.9 m; weight: average 8 - 9kg in spring, 11 - 12kg in autumn. Black and white horizontal stripes on face; stocky gray body; legs, dark gray to dark brown.

Eurasian Habitat

Common through Europe, into Scandinavia and western Russia, across to eastern Siberia, in mixed woodlands environments and forest edges where soils are suitable for burrowing.


The badger's most important food is earthworms, which are caught on pasture or in deciduous woodland, especially on wet nights. Other foods include bulbs, small mammals and young rabbits. Carrion is eaten by badgers living in upland areas; predation of farm livestock is rare. Blackberries and windfall apples are major food sources in the autumn. Cereals, particularly wheat, may be eaten, especially if other foods are in short supply.


Badgers are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. When not active, they usually lie up in an extensive system of underground tunnels and nesting chambers, known as a sett. Occasionally, when the weather is particularly hot, badgers may come briefly above ground during daytime.

Badgers live in social groups of four to 12 adults. Only one female badger in a social group normally breeds, although occasionally two or more may do so. Litters of two or three cubs are usually born in February.

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