Badgers are wild animals that have been familiar to Japanese people since ancient times. For example, there is the word "Mujina of the same hole".
Although they may look different at first glance, they actually refer to being similar villains, but this ``mujina'' is another name for badger.
Badgers are often mistaken for raccoon dogs, but they are similar but different animals. In this article, we will explain the characteristics of badgers and how to deal with wildlife damage.
Characteristics of the badger
Badger is an animal belonging to the mustelid family, and refers to the Japanese badger, which is an endemic species of Japan. It is primarily nocturnal and rests in burrows during the day. They have a gentle personality and often get along well with other animals.
They are not very cautious, so they may not run away even if humans approach them. If they are preoccupied with something else, such as foraging for food, they may not notice humans nearby.
body size and shape
The length of the head and body is about 40 to 60 cm, and the weight is about 10 kg. Due to their similar body size and color, they are often mistaken for raccoons, raccoons, and palm civets.
They have five toes on each fore and hind limbs, the thumb is separated from the other four, and they all have sharp claws.
Widely distributed in Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu. They live in tunnel-like burrows that they dig in the ground, mainly in forest areas of satoyama. Burrows are intricately connected underground, with multiple entrances and exits.
Although raccoon dogs do not dig burrows themselves, raccoon dogs sometimes use the inside of burrows dug by badgers for resting and breeding. The word is thought to have originated from here.
On a different note, the popular dog breed Dachshund for its adorable appearance is derived from the German word for badger (Dachs) and dog (Hund). It is a breed that has been improved to have shorter limbs for the purpose of hunting badgers.
In some cases, they appear in urban areas, and in some cases, they settle in the ceilings or under the floors of buildings. Once intruded into a house, they can dig countless holes under the floor and excrete a large amount of feces under the floor due to their habit of accumulating feces, which can cause foul odors and the occurrence of pests.
It is omnivorous. They prefer animals such as insects, frogs, moles, and earthworms, but they also eat fruits. Crops such as corn, watermelons, and strawberries may be damaged by pests, but they may also be damaged by digging.
Differences from raccoon dogs etc.
The raccoon dog belongs to the canine family, and the badger belongs to the weasel family, but since they share many similarities in diet and behavior, the two species have been mixed since ancient times. For example, a behavior that mimics death called ``Tanuki sleeping'' is also seen in badgers.
By the way, at the beginning, I wrote that mujina mainly refers to badgers, but depending on the region, it may refer to raccoon dogs and palm civets, or may refer to these species collectively without clearly distinguishing them.
The main way to distinguish them is by the appearance of their tails. Both raccoon dogs and badgers have short tails of less than 20 centimeters. In addition, badgers can be distinguished by their larger noses and smaller ears than raccoon dogs, and by the fact that raccoon dogs have four fingers, while badgers have five and sharp claws.
Palm civets are also often mistaken for badgers, but they can be distinguished by the white line that runs from their forehead to their noses, their long tails, and their pink noses.
Palm civets prefer high places, and badgers prefer low places, so in many cases, palm civets live in attics.
Reference article: Measures against palm civets
There are other cases of confusion with raccoons. Unlike raccoon dogs and badgers, which are endemic to Japan, raccoons are non-native species. Unlike raccoon dogs and badgers, raccoons have black horizontal stripes on their long, bushy tails.
Raccoons also have five toes on their feet, but raccoons have longer toes than badgers.
Reference article: Raccoon ecology, countermeasures, and extermination
In addition, it is said that the number of badgers is decreasing due to competition with raccoons. Because the breeding rate is not that high, some municipalities have designated it as an endangered species or a near-endangered species (in some regions, the population is said to be recovering in recent years).
About badger measures
When targeting small animals such as badgers, raccoons, raccoons, and palm civets, trapping is often used as a method.
And I use a small box trap for capture. Raccoons are specified alien species under the Invasive Alien Species Act, and are subject to aggressive control measures to prevent their impact on ecosystems, human life and bodies, and damage to agriculture, forestry and fisheries. increase.
On the other hand, although badgers are included in the hunting birds and beasts stipulated by the Wildlife Protection Law, there are cases where capture is prohibited or restricted depending on the prefecture. Therefore, it is necessary to check with the local government whether it is possible to capture them before capturing them.
Of course, hunting licenses and registrations are required when using traps, which are legal hunting laws. Also, if you plan to capture them outside of the hunting season, you need permission to exterminate harmful birds and beasts. It is possible to capture with a foldable box trap sold at home centers.
However, badgers and raccoons are relatively strong, and even if they are large, they may push the gap of the trap wide and escape, so it is better to choose a strong trap ( Inohoi's recommended traps are here >> ).
Box traps with a height and width of about 30 cm and a depth of about 80 cm can be used. let's
Due to its omnivorous nature, various foods, including fruit trees, are used as food. They are not very cautious, so they are not difficult to catch.
They can also be caught as bycatch in traps aimed at raccoon dogs, palm civets and raccoons. If you want to prevent intrusion into fields, it is important to prevent them from digging into the ground.
If you use a protective fence, bury the bottom 30 cm of the fence in the ground. However, if the height is about 40 cm, it may try to climb over it, so try to make up for the height so that you can not climb over the fence by embedding it too much.
Finally, regarding badger meat, it is very tasty. Basically, it is refreshing and has no peculiarities, and the fat is especially delicious (however, depending on the individual, it may have a very strong smell). The raccoon dog soup that appears in folk tales is probably a soup made from badger meat.Since there are rare cases where it is sold as gibier, we recommend that you try it if you have the opportunity.