Monday Mustelid #14

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Eurasian badger Meles meles L.
Click for big version - they’re cute. Way cute

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I've been remiss for a while and those of you who like the Monday Mustelid haven't been getting your fix. So here is a little something to tide you over. Three video full of badgery goodness. The world's most fearless animal - the ratel, Melivora capensis. This guy is 100kg of attitude in a 10kg…
Your Monday Mustelid is the Patagonian weasel, Lyncodon patagonicus (de Blainville 1842). Unfortunately, I can't find a picture of the little blighter anywhere. Instead, here's a picture of a Eurasian badger (Meles meles) cub ...
I used to work on Eurasian badgers, Meles meles, a fascinating mustelid carnivore that is relatively easy to observe in the wild. My work was in cranial morphometrics - measuring skulls and detecting differences - and I was more interested in variation in sexual dimorphism than anything else (…
Japanese badger - Meles anakuma Temminck 1844

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?

By John Mashey (not verified) on 28 Apr 2008 #permalink

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.....

By Tina Rhea (not verified) on 29 Apr 2008 #permalink

Tina,

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.

By JohnnieCanuck, FCD (not verified) on 30 Apr 2008 #permalink