The Badger (Meles taxus or M. vulgaris), Fig. 4, belongs to the family Felidae, sub-family Mustelina or Weasels, and is about 2 ft. 3 in in length. It has a broad, white stripe from its forehead down to the nose, with a longitudinal black stripe between the eye and snout, on each side, dilating as it goes backward until it includes the eye and ear, behind which it terminates. The hair covering the body is harsh, long, scattered, and of three colours, white, black, and red, differing in the proportion of these tints in different parts, black predominating on the inferior. Legs short and stout, paws provided with long curved claws, especially adapted for burrowing. The female brings forth three or four at a litter.

The Badger.

Fig. 4. - The Badger.

On the whole, the badger is a harmless creature, seldom seen unless hunted for, though its haunts are betrayed by the animal's strong smell, due to its having a pouch beneath the tail, from which a fetid fatty humour exudes. During the daytime the badger lives in deep, winding burrows, reposing on a very comfortable bed of hay and grass. At night it comes out to feed in thickets, banks or woods, where it dwells, the food consisting of slugs and snails, frogs, worms, grubs and adult insects, varied with earth-nuts and roots of various plants, such as wild hyacinth, beech-mast, wild fruits, and herbage. In season, it also feeds upon young rabbits, unearthing them while in " nest," very young hares, young and small birds, eggs of all sorts come-at-able, and with a " sweet tooth " for the nest of the humble bee as well as that of the wild honey bee, devouring the honey and combs. It, however, does very little injury, even to game.

When attacked by dogs or other enemies, the badger defends itself with great resolution, and inflicts many severe wounds on the aggressors before it is finally vanquished. It was formerly and sometimes now is cruelly made sport of by dog fanciers, who place it in an improvised hole in the ground or a long box, and set their favourites to draw it cut. The skin of the badger is rather valuable, the hair being used in the manufacture of brushes, and its skin in is some request for holsters.