- Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting the Eurasian badger.
Eurasian badgers live from England, Ireland and Spain to the eastern edges of Russia, China, and Japan. Due to their large range, 24 subspecies have been recognized. Badgers are nocturnal and burrowing animals. Their dens are called setts and are passed on from generation to generation. Throughout a group’s territory, you can find multiple complex setts. The main one generally has many adults and is centrally located in the group’s territory. In places like Russia, during late summer when badgers begin to prepare for winter sleep, also known as torpor, they start accumulating fat reserves, cleaning the sett and filling the nesting chamber with bedding. Before entering a torpor state, badgers block their sett entrances with dry leaves and dirt.
The IUCN classifies the Eurasian badger as Least Concern as it is widespread and densities have increased in Europe over the last decade. Despite this, climate change may be putting pressure on the badger’s survival. For example, warmer springs may cause them to end their extended torpor early, thus driving them to search for food during months when little food is available. Watch the video to learn more about this species!
Special thanks to Sian Green for sharing their footage with us. Green is a PhD candidate at Durham University working with the citizen science project ‘MammalWeb’ (www.mammalweb.org), which uses camera traps for mammal monitoring and public engagement in the UK.
Review questions for educators
- How do Eurasian badgers benefit from sharing burrows with foxes?
- What is torpor?
- How is climate change impacting badgers’ torpor?
Banner photo: a screenshot of Sian Green’s camera trap footage