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Monday, 9 January 2012

Badger

An older meaning of the noun 'badger' was as a word for a pedlar or trader. The verb 'to badger' originally meant to haggle (like a pedlar) and only later came to mean to irritate, like a badger.

The earliest recorded use of the word “badger” for the animal was in 1523. Before that, it was called a “brock” or “bauson”.

Their name refers to the white badge-like mark on the forehead

The word “badger” does not appear in any Shakespeare play but Twelfth Night mentions “brock” once.

A male badger is a boar, a female is a sow and the young are called cubs.

The honey badger has the reputation of being the most fearless and vicious of all mammals. When attacking a male of another species, the honey badger is said to go for the genitals. It is not really a badger at all but is more closely related to the polecat.

A honey badger's skin is so thick that it can withstand machete blows, arrows, and spears.

The honey badger can withstand hundreds of African bee stings that would kill any other animal.

There are around 350,000 badgers in Britain. In December 2011 it was announced that in the following year, up to 100,000 of them could be slaughtered in a cull to prevent the spread of Bovine TB.

Mainly a woodland animal, the badger is nocturnal, and spends the day in a system of burrows called a ‘sett.’

Setts can be centuries old and are used by many generations of badgers.

Badgers are very clean-living and will not defecate in their setts but have communal latrines elsewhere.

Earthworms make up 90% of the badger's diet but it also feeds on roots, a variety of fruits and nuts, insects, mice, and young rabbits.

Badgers are omnivorous and will eat several hundred earthworms every night.

Badgers have very strong jaws capable of delivering a bite powerful enough to crush bones.

Their long, sharp claws can also inflict serious injury.

Badgers are fiercely territorial in the wild and attack when they feel threatened.

They can run at up to 19mph over short distances

Keeping one as a pet is illegal in the UK under the 1992 Protection of Badgers Act.

Badgers don’t usually hibernate, but sometimes they will sleep for a few days or weeks in their dens during the coldest part of winter.

The dachshund dog breed has a history with badgers; "dachs" is the German word for badger, and dachshunds were originally bred to be badger hounds.

Sources Hutchinson Encyclopedia, Daily Express, Daily Mail



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