Eurasian badger Meles meles L.Click for big version – they’re cute. Way cute
Those are some adorable badgers. As a kid growing up in Wisconsin, I was always confused by The Wind in the Willows and other British children’s stories, where badgers are presented as fairly benign creatures.
North American badgers are big, nasty animals. Like a cross between a giant weasel, a heavyweight prizefighter, and Freddy Krueger. Luckily, they’re very elusive. Never saw one in the wild, but when we’d go camping up in the north woods, I was always told to avoid times and places where I might run into one.
Have you done a Monday mustelid on the North American badger? [Eagerly awaits finding out that everything I know about American badgers is wrong.]
I found an urban legend that said:
“British forces were said to have released man-eating badgers in the vicinity of Basra, Iraq following the 2003 coalition invasion.”
These are too cute for that.
But seriously, these have an unusually-striking appearance compared to some of the other badgers. Is this one of those random things, or is there some evolutionary advantage in being so visible?
I wonder if the difference in temperament between American and European badgers is a result of the creatures they had to deal with. I’m not sure that, say, Ice Age Europe had much on the scale of dire wolves, short-faced bears, sabertoothed cats, and the very large American lions….
Sort of like the extraordinary speed of the pronghorn being a result of having to outrun the vanished American cheetah.
Damn, I miss all those critters…..
Somewhat relevant to your interspecies interaction comment, I found a reference to symbiotic badger-coyote cooperative hunting in the wiki links for the North American Badger. Unfortunately the link is expired.
It is similar to that between the grouper fish, Plectropomus pessuliferus, and the giant moray eel, Gymnothorax javanicus, as featured on Neurophilosophy’s old blog and elsewhere around here.
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