Body of a badger dense, clumsy, wide in back part. The head extended with small eyes and short roundish ears. The tail is shorter than the head. At the tail basis in a fold of skin glands emitting liquid with a caustic smell are located. Strong short paws are armed with the strong, poorly curved stupid claws adapted for digging. Soles a naked Trunk and a tail are covered rough, shchetinisty and long, reaching on a back 7 — 8 cm, ostevy hair which cover shorter and thin underfur Wool on the head and legs much well, but is also rough.
Teeth of a badger are adapted for meat food less, than at other marten. Canines and predatory teeth are developed rather more weakly, and the flattened chewing surfaces of back radical are adapted for a mastication of vegetable food.
Coloring of badgers from different areas quite strongly differs, but generally fur on a back grayish-brown, with the considerable ripples changing in tones at different forms, more dark along ridge and brightening on sides. Presence of ripples is caused by hair-dyeing of an awn which have light basis, dark rings, and tops also light are located above. Continuous presence on the head of the dark strip going from a nose through an eye and covering an ear or touching its upper edge is characteristic. Forehead and cheeks white, yellowish or brown. At some individuals from east Asia the forehead and cheeks are painted very darkly and lateral strips are hardly noticeable.
In the summer the fur of a badger is much shorter and more rare. The underfur is almost absent. Especially indumentum on a belly where naked skin clearly appears through thins. Coloring of summer fur is more dark, is more black and is more red than winter. Hair of very young badgers is painted more faintly, it rather short, soft, and sometimes curly. On coloring males are indistinguishable from females, but the first are usually larger.
Length of a body of an old male on average equals 90 cm, tail length about 20 cm. The average weight of the badgers of the European part of the country got in the fall usually fluctuates within 20 kg.
The weight of a badger changes within a year. In the spring, after hibernation, animals leave strongly emaciated holes, by fall put on weight, accumulating 5 — 6 kg of fat in a body.
The molt at badgers passes slowly and gradually during the whole summer. In April and May the underfur, since forward part of a trunk drops out. In June and July the badger gradually loses ostevy hair, since hind legs, back part of a body and a tail. In August loss of old wool comes to an end and in the same time the new awn appears. At the beginning of October the fur of an animal reaches final development. Therefore it is necessary to allow hunting for a badger not earlier than October when it is possible to receive an output skin and when the animal strongly grows fat.
On thawed snow, the damp soil or on dust the badger quite often leaves prints of the paws, with clear outlines of naked soles, fingers and claws, the reminding bear cub traces.
Length of a trace of a forepaw of an adult badger equals about 8 cm from which 2,5 it is the share of claws, and the print of a hinder leg is approximately equal to 9 cm. Short claws of a hinder leg imprint more weakly. The animal usually trots, at the same time the print of a hinder right leg covers back part of a print of a lobby left.
The Kcal of a badger represents the small darkly painted oblong rollers. The clean animal prikapyvat them in small poles near an entrance to the holes.
Distribution and subspecies. Within the CIS the badger lives from the western borders to the lower Amur Current, and the northern border of its area gradually goes down, beginning to the west from a polar circle and going down in Priamurye to the south of 55 °C. highway. It is more difficult for that to carry out this border that the badger meets very sporadically in the north. It is not in the most part of the Kola peninsula. Separate copies were got on the bank of the Lake Imandra, in the Arkhangelsk region near Holmogor and on average a current of the river Coolah. In the basin of Pechora there is no badger. Across the Urals hardly it goes to the north of 60 °C. highway, and in the Omsk region — to the north of the mouth of Irtysh. To the east from Yenisei the badger reaches the Podkamennaya Tunguska, and on the top Lena was got near Kirensk. The distribution border passes in Transbaikalia and Priamurye to the south of 55 °C everywhere. highway. Out of the CIS the badger lives almost in all Europe and in the most part of Asia: from Turkey to Japan and in India.
According to the latest researches, the badgers living in our limits belong to one view with the following subspecies.
The European badger, the largest, length of a skull is 10,9 — 12,6 cm. There are first lozhnokorenny; thus, in each jaw — four lozhnokorenny teeth. In dark sites of coloring of winter fur light sites — white or gray prevail black tone; impurity of yellow tones in summer fur weak. Summer coloring slightly reddish. Dark strips on each side of the head wide also cover an ear. The median light strip lasts from a forehead before, and sometimes and to the middle of a neck. Inhabits all Europe, the European part of the CIS to the right coast of the lower Volga Current (in Zavolzhye steppes and in Bashkiria it is replaced with other subspecies) and Ciscaucasia; the Black Sea coast slightly paces for the Caucasian ridge, meets in the mountain Crimea.
The West Asian badger the sizes is much less. Length of a skull is 9,7 — 11,2 cm. On features of a skull it is close to the European. Coloring is more pale, sometimes with a pale-yellow shade. Lives in Transcaucasia, Asia Minor, northern Iran, Palestine, northern Iraq, Tajikistan, Kopet-Dag, on the western slopes of Pamir.
The Asian badger by the sizes is close to European, but slightly more small. Length of a skull is 10,2 — 11,6 cm. The first lozhnokorenny are absent, all them on three in each jaw. In coloring of light places prevail yellow and yellowish tone; dark sites — with big or smaller development of brown tones. Dark strips on the head are narrow, cover eyes, but or do not touch an ear at all, or take only its top third. It is widespread in Bashkiria, the Zavolzhye steppe, the southern part of Western Siberia, in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China.
The Far East badger — the smallest, length of a skull is 9,2-10,5 cm. As well as at the previous subspecies, the first lozhnokorenny are absent muzzle width at canines which, as a rule, more than a distance between the ends of zaglaznichny shoots Is characteristic. Coloring is very dark; a forehead — with big impurity of brown and brown hair; dark coloring of lateral longitudinal strips on the head sometimes almost merges with coloring of a forehead and neck. It is known from the southern part of the Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krai, in Japan, except for the island of Hokkaido, in Korea and northeast China.
It is necessary to emphasize that on borders of distribution of separate subspecies often there are intermediate forms of badgers. In the isolated massif, to Ciscaucasia, in Altai, Tien Shan, etc. there are local forms with so weak differences that they cannot be considered as subspecies on an equal basis with that four which were given above
The badger usually lodges on the dry sites which grew with the small wood, dense bushes and a grass. Prefers forest edges and especially overgrown and almost impassable ravines and slopes. In steppes lives on slopes of ravines and beams. In mountains rises up to the height of 2000 m, settles usually in cracks of rocks and taluses.
There live badgers many years from generation to generation on one place, in the holes dug by them. Most often dig holes in slopes of ravines or on slopes of hillocks and gorges, annually repair and broaden the dwelling. As a result the difficult, multystoried labyrinth of underpasses with a set of exits and deadlocks turns out. The hole opening usually has the semi-oval form flattened below, about 20 — 30 cm of height and 30 — 50 cm of width. After an opening the hole goes down, and sometimes goes steeply and wraps to the right, to the left At a depth of 2 — 3 m and at considerable distance from an entrance, on 8 — 10 m and more, animals dig out an extensive chamber where they arrange a nest, training dry leaves, a grass and a moss there. The sizes of this chamber reach 1 m of height at 1,5 m in the diameter. In very old holes sometimes it is possible to meet two or three chambers located one under another. Depth of holes depends on friability of soil and level of underground waters. The soil is more solid and soil waters are higher, the holes are less deep.
The entrance quite often has a trampled-down platform on which badgers have a rest and play before a sunset or warm moonlight nights. From holes the trodden, well noticeable paths which are lost then in forest thickets usually reach for a watering place and for favourite places of feeding.
Old barsuch of a hole in friable soil sometimes occupy very big space. In big holes there live usually several animals of different gender and age, and badgers use only part of the holes and exits. Therefore near badgers quite often settle, peacefully live and remove posterity of a fox.
It is possible to determine a hole habitability by heaps of the svezhevybroshenny earth, the fresh, conducting in a hole traces of animals and by lack of the web tightening usually an entrance of an uninhabited hole.
In the countries with cold winter the badgers who grew fat during the summer get into holes and fall into hibernation, without coming to light to spring heat. Hibernation at a badger is not so strong as at groundhogs or gophers, and at approach of thaw he comes to light. In the south, in the Crimea and in the lowered parts of the Caucasus, badgers do not fall asleep in the winter at all and only in a strong bad weather sit out till some days in a hole. In a midland of the European part of the country in August and September begin to clean holes, and in October at an entrance it is possible to meet a lot of dry foliage, prepared for a nest laying. In November, before hard frosts, the badger hammers in a hole all exits and otnorka with leaves and the earth and lays down in hibernation. Wakes up in March or in the first half of April, depending on the beginning of spring.
Pairing at badgers in middle latitudes of Europe, povidimy, happens in the second half of summer, at the end of July and in August. Development of an oosperm at first is late and begins only in the winter. Therefore pregnancy terms at a badger drag on in total amount till 30 — 32 weeks. Young people, number 2 — 6, are born in March, blind people and begin to see clearly only for the 30th day. With mother young people remain till fall, and sometimes live in one hole all winter. Puberty at badgers comes at the end of the second year of life.
The food of a badger is very different and consists both of animals, and of vegetable forages. The badger eats often such quantity of land mollusks that its kcal becomes white from fragments of the cracked, but not digested sinks. He eats also bugs, their larvae, worms, frogs, snakes, egg of birds and baby birds, small mammals: mice, voles, and sometimes and leverets. Quite often eats drop. Besides, in a large number eats korenye and stalks of many herbs, mushrooms, nuts, acorns, especially sweet berries and fruit.
Badger — twilight and mainly night animal. In the afternoon he can seldom be met far from a hole. Only in deaf and quiet places badgers come sometimes in hot one o'clock in the afternoon to get warm to the sun at an entrance to a hole. On a sunset badgers leave holes, plume and cleaned, sometimes some time lie on the platform at a hole, then go behind production on all night long and come back by the dawn.
Out of external feelings at a badger sense of smell and hearing are well developed, is weaker — sight.
In a quiet state the animal moves a slow trot, a vperevalka; being scared, runs quickly enough. Well floats. The voice at a badger in the angry state represents short and abrupt grumble. When the animal is occupied with searches of food, he usually loudly snuffles.
Badgers are quite often infected with worms and dogs have plague, the same form, as.
The badger ruins nests of the birds nesting on the earth. In the southern regions of the country becomes sometimes the wrecker bakhchy and vineyards, but it is generally rather useful, than is harmful, Meat of badgers of high quality. The badger fat giving fine greasing for leather footwear is especially appreciated among hunters. From elastic shchetinisty hair of a badger produce brushes, mainly for shaving. Skin goes on suitcases and other hand-made articles.
Get badgers traps (for example, No. 5 with gear arches) which put about holes or on the badger courses, surely fixing as the badger can drag a trap in a hole.
The hunting having sports character — a badger podkaraulivaniye at a morning dawn at a hole is very interesting. The badger leaves to be fed at night, and at dawn comes back in a hole. To capture him before return, it is necessary to come to a hole still after dark and, observing a full immovability, to wait for an animal, having chosen the place, suitable for an ambush. It has to be a little away from an entrance opening of a hole which can be a little. Before eyes of the hunter there has to be a sufficient space for firing — the badger can come from any party. In general the choice of the place depends on an arrangement of a hole and a relief of the district surrounding it.
It is possible to become to holes and since evening. Previously having defined a hole habitability close in the tracks, hunters come to it for one or one and a half hours to sunset and become at rifle-shot distance from an entrance opening. It is necessary to be conformed with the direction of wind and to become so that it did not pull from the hunter to a hole. Some recommend to get, at an opportunity, on a tree standing close by or to arrange a warehouse. Morning hunting is more preferable than vespers as the badger sometimes, in particular in the fall, is late in a hole and comes for greasing in the middle of the night. Then firing at it is difficult and possible only in moonlight nights.
On autumn hunting with hounds sometimes kill badgers from under rutting. Most often dogs send a badger early in the morning when he comes back from greasing to a hole, but happens that the badger walks in the woods in the evening and even in the afternoon. Surrounded and tired out with dogs, the badger is protected very safely and can strongly wound dogs.
Among amateur hunters hunting for a badger with dachshunds and fox terriers, i.e. with such dogs who can get into his holes is widespread. This hunting very much of a dobychliv, but at a wide circulation without sufficient control can lead to destruction of badgers. Besides, it very often is followed by a hole breaking then the escaped animal leaves it and leaves.
This hunting happens as follows. Lateral otnorka hammer, leaving only the main courses, and let a dog without collar in one of them. At the openings left opened hunters with guns, ready to shoot a badger as soon as he jumps out of a hole, disturbed by a dog wait. If the skilled dog returns back or will leave other course, then most likely that the hole is empty and there is no badger in it. If there are still dogs, then it is necessary to let others for check. Always let in a hole at the same time only one dog.
In case the badger jumps out of a hole, he should try to be killed on the spot as, being wounded, it will surely return to a hole, and it is difficult to dig out it. If the badger from a hole is not shown, and the muffled bark of a dog reaches from there and it is possible to find out that the animal and a dog do not move, it means that it drove it into the deadlock. Then over this place it is necessary to dig a vertical hole. However, a badger, having heard over itself noise of a shovel, can rush regardless of obstacles to a dog, wound it and be hammered into other otnorka. If it was succeeded to get to the bottom of an animal, then the good dog begins to rush spitefully on him. Up to this point the dog usually is not enough an animal as she cannot hold him in a narrow hole without the aid of the person. The skilled dog oblaivat a badger in an emphasis that he was in the defensive family way all the time and did not begin to be dug in to the earth. When the hole is dug up and the dog holds an animal, hunters take him special nippers for a neck or simply, having pressed down a boot to the earth, grab a tail. It is necessary to be very careful that the badger did not seize the hunter teeth. In this hunting, of course, it is the most interesting to take a badger alive.
It is possible to recommend hunting for a badger with a laika, at night when he walks in the woods. The laika catches up with an animal on a trace and, oblaivy, detains on the place. The hunter approaches on bark, by means of a pocket electric lamp lights a badger and shoots at it.
As inadmissible it is necessary to consider smoking of badgers from holes. At such way the animal very often perishes, choking underground, and cannot be used by the hunter, or finds an opportunity to sit out, breathing clean air at one of the small pro-spirits, imperceptible from the Earth's surface, serving for ventilation of a hole. After that the badger throws holes and passes into other place.