This is a big one!
The Hog Badger (Arctonyx collaris) is the world’s largest remaining badger species. It is fairly widely distributed throughout south and central Asia, including Sumatra, India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and China. It seems to prefer to live in forested areas at altitudes of 600 to 11,500 feet (200 to 3,500 meters). Though they have a wide range, they have scattered and small populations, and therefore the extent of their distribution can be hard to pin down.
The Hog Badger clearly gets its name from its pig-like snout, which sets them apart from other kinds of badgers previously featured in this series. They have varied coat colors, from dark brown to gray. It has distinctive black and white markings on its face, similar to that of other badger species. It has long white claws on its forefeet, with muscular limbs that help it to dig burrows. Adult Hog Badgers grow up to 28 inches (70 cm), with tails of lengths up to 7 inches (17 cm). They weigh around 31 pounds (14 kg).
Hog Badgers are omnivorous, and are thought to specialize in eating earthworms. But they also supplement their diet with tubers, small mammals, and insects. They use their noses to scent food, and will dig for it with their snouts, teeth and lower jaws. There are currently six recognized subspecies of Hog Badger:
- Arctonyx collaris collaris (Greater Hog Badger, living in the eastern Himalayas)
- Arctonyx collaris albogularis (Northern Hog Badger, living in southern China)
- Arctonyx collaris leucolaemus (Chinese Hog Badger, living in northern China)
- Arctonyx collaris hoevenii (Sumatran Hog Badger, living in Sumatra)
- Arctonyx collaris dictator (Indochinese Hog Badger, living in Thailand and Indochina)
- Arctonyx collaris consul (Burmese Hog Badger, living in Myanmar)
Hog Badgers are very solitary creatures, so not much is currently known about its reproductive habits. It’s likely that they breed in May, and the active gestation period is estimated to be about six weeks, but they practice delayed implantation of fertilized embryos like other mustelids. They give birth to litters of two to four kits.
The deforestation that is affecting so many species in south and central Asia is also affecting the Hog Badgers. It is considered to be a near threatened species by the IUCN, though predation by humans is relatively low. Some indigenous peoples don’t care for the taste of their meat, while others do, and Hog Badgers are relatively easy to hunt. They are protected in some parts of their range, where they have a more significant presence.
Source for all images used in this post.