15 Types of Badgers (With Pictures)

Badgers are small omnivorous mammals, found all around the world except for Australia and South America. 

Despite their size, these animals are ferocious fighters, and in today’s article, we’ll be learning about the 15 badger types.

  • Northern Hog Badgers
  • Greater Hog Badgers
  • Sumatran Hog Badgers
  • Japanese Badgers
  • Asian Badgers
  • European Badgers
  • Caucasian Badgers
  • Burmese Ferret-badgers
  • Javan Ferret-badgers
  • Chinese Ferret-badgers
  • Formosan Ferret-badgers
  • Bornean Ferret-badgers
  • Vietnam Ferret-badgers
  • Honey Badgers
  • American Badgers

Note: Badgers are ranked in no particular order.

Table of Contents

1. Northern Hog Badger

Scientific name: Arctonyx albogularis

Found in southern and eastern Asia, this badger has different color variations depending on the location of the specimen. They’re much smaller than their relatives – the greater hog badger.

They mostly feed on fruits and small mammals, while they’ll also eat any carrion that they find.

2. Greater Hog Badgers

Scientific name: Arctonyx collaris

This badger is much larger than its northern and Sumatran cousins – it can weigh up to 30 pounds and grow up to 40 inches in length.

Since it’s so large, it’s possible that it’s the largest of all the badgers, although the European badger might retain that title.

Greater hog badgers are equipped with long, sharp claws on their front feet, but they’ll usually run from people if seen in the wild.

They’re neither nocturnal nor diurnal, as they’re active whenever they feel like it.

3. Sumatran Hog Badgers

Scientific name: Arctonyx hoevenii

These are the smallest of the hog badgers, only found in Sumatra, particularly at high altitudes. There, they inhabit forests and grasslands and are mostly safe, as their natural habitat is above the legally allowed hunting zone.

A solitary species, Sumatran hog badgers will not only burrow into the ground for shelter, but also find food, such as roots, insects, and wild vegetables.

Their long claws and strong jaws make them excellent predators and most small prey can’t escape them.

4. Japanese Badgers

Scientific name: Meles anakuma

Weighing no more than 17 pounds, Japanese badgers are medium-sized for a badger. Their limbs are very short and their backs are raised. Unlike the European badger, this species usually has a red-brown coat.

These types of badgers in Japan use their powerful claws for digging, but also to kill small prey and rip it open.

During the winter, they hibernate, and only mate in early spring. They’re solitary and mates do not pair permanently.

These badgers are found in a variety of habitats all over Japan and are not threatened.

5. Asian Badgers

Scientific name: Meles leucurus

Asian badgers are sometimes called ‘sand badgers’ because they’re lightly colored. They can be found in East and Central Asia, all the way into Russia.

There are five subspecies, with the Amur badger being the smallest one.

Siberian badgers are the heaviest of the Asian badgers, weighing up to 30 pounds, while the common Asian badger rarely weighs more than 13 pounds.

They’re smaller than the European badger, but most males are larger than Japanese badgers.

Siberian badgers have developed thicker fur to cope with the harsh northern winters.

6. European Badgers

Scientific name: Meles meles

Capable of weighing up to 37 pounds, the European badger is the largest and the most powerful of the badgers. Those weights are reached in the autumn as the animal prepares for its winter hibernation.

Although they mostly feed on small mammals and large insects, these types of badgers in Europe are fierce fighters and will not back down once they’re provoked.

They have very few natural predators in Europe because of their fighting abilities and they’re rarely killed by non-human predators.

Interestingly, European badgers are known to share their wintering holes with other predators, such as the red fox, with the two animals tolerating each other.

7. Caucasian Badgers

Scientific name: Meles canescens

Found in western Asia, but also some Mediterranean islands, these badgers are also known as the Southwest Asian badgers. They’re similar to European badgers, but their coats are more gray than black and noticeably smaller.

A subspecies only found on the island of Crete is known as the Cretan badger, while the Rhodes island in Greece is home to the Rhodes badger. Aside from European badgers, these are the only types of badgers in Greece.

There are two other subspecies, the Fergana badger – found in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan – and the Transcaucasian badger, found in South Caucasus.

8. Burmese Ferret-badgers

Scientific name: Melogale personata

Found in Southeast Asia, these badgers are noticeably smaller than the previously mentioned species. They have a ferret-like, elongated body, and they rarely weigh more than 6 pounds.

The fur on these small badgers is lightly-colored, while the tail is almost white.

They’re found in Vietnam, Myanmar (hence the name), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, China, and Bangladesh. There, they display arboreal behavior to some degree, which is unlike badgers, which are mostly terrestrial burrowers.

9. Javan Ferret-badgers

Scientific name: Melogale orientalis

Endemic to Indonesian provinces of Java and Bali, these badgers are very slim, with narrow heads, and are much less robust than other badgers.

These types of badgers in Indonesia do not burrow, but instead use existing burrows made by other animals for nesting.

There, they sometimes form groups – this is especially common with young badgers. Foraging in groups ensures that they stay safe. This behavior isn’t common with all badgers, as there are strictly-solitary species.

They mostly feed on small animals, but they will eat fruit if they find any.

10. Chinese Ferret-badgers

Scientific name: Melogale moschata

As the name suggests, these badgers are mostly spread in Southeast Asia, with the largest part of their territory being China. They can also be found in northeastern India and Taiwan.

These types of badgers in China can be easily recognized because of the white markings on their face, making it look like they’re wearing a mask.

Just like other ferret-badgers, they’re noticeably smaller and lighter than actual badgers.

Because of their small size, they’re good climbers and they’ll cower into the trees when they come up against a predator. They do not nest in trees, though, as they usually invade rodent burrows for that.

11. Formosan Ferret-badgers

Scientific name: Melogale subaurantiaca

Endemic to Taiwan, these badgers have only recently been recognized as a separate species. They were long thought of as a subspecies of the Chinese ferret-badger.

Unfortunately, it’s believed that about half of these types of badgers in Taiwan are carriers of the rabies virus. Although Taiwan has been rabies-free since 1961, evidence of rabies was found in half of the collected ferret-badger specimens.

A rabies epidemic was declared in eastern Taiwan in 2019 and the ferret-badger species is believed to be a crucial link in rabies transmission.

12. Bornean Ferret-badgers

Scientific name: Melogale everetti

Only found in a very small, restricted pocket of forests on the island of Borneo, these badgers are very rarely seen. Not only are they considered threatened, but they’re also nocturnal and secretive animals, making them very difficult to find.

Although they’re primarily terrestrial, Bornean ferret-badgers have been observed foraging in the trees, which is very rare amongst badgers. They mostly feed on fruits, insects, and very small amphibians and mammals.

In a way, they’re similar to skunks. When cornered, they’ll release a very strong odor to deter the predator.

13. Vietnam Ferret-badgers

Scientific name: Melogale cucphuongensis

The Vietnam ferret-badger is possibly the rarest of all badgers. Only two specimens have ever been found. Unfortunately, both were found dead, so very little is known about their habits.

It is believed that they’re found in northern Vietnam, as both specimens were found in the Cúc Phương National Park. However, it’s possible that the animals have migrated to other areas as well.

Their exact numbers, dietary habits, and behavior are still a mystery.

14. Honey Badgers

Scientific name: Mellivora capensis

Honey badgers are possibly the most well-known type of badger. Although they’re the third-largest badgers (as both European and hog badgers are larger), they’re possibly the most dangerous of them all.

They can weigh up to 26 pounds, although incredible weights of 40 pounds have been reported in Iraq. Their longs are short, but very powerful, while their front feet are armed with extremely dangerous claws.

They have very few natural predators in their native environment; they’re capable of fighting off lions and they will attack without hesitation when cornered.

They’ll also attack large ungulates if they come too close to the burrow. The skin of the honey badger is so thick that bees and porcupine stings can’t penetrate it.

Despite its ferocious fighting abilities, honey badgers usually feed on small animals (frogs, turtles, lizards, snakes), insects, and honey – which is what they’re most known for. If possible, they’ll also eat roots and fruits.

15. American Badgers

Scientific name: Taxidea taxus

Found in southern Canada, the northern half of Mexico, and the entire United States except for the Southeast, American badgers prefer open grasslands and prairies. They’re the only type of badger in America.

Male badgers can reach 33 pounds before winter hibernation, but 20 pounds is the average weight. They’re noticeably smaller than European badgers and honey badgers.

Although they’re nocturnal animals, they display daytime activity in places that aren’t inhabited by humans, meaning that their nocturnal behavior might be a defense mechanism.

Amazingly, American badgers have been documented forming hunting partnerships with coyotes. The badger will force the prey out of its burrow for the coyote to catch it outside. The pair will then share the game.

To Finish

Badgers are mostly burrowing, omnivorous animals (although they’re primarily carnivorous), known for their ferocity and fighting abilities. Depending on the exact locality, some of these species hibernate during the winter, putting on a lot of weight and reaching great sizes.

Although many people mistake badgers for small, cowering animals, they’re actually incredible fighters, capable of standing their ground against big cats and large snakes.

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