Apologies for the delay on this one, folks. This one was a little more difficult to research, and I was feeling yucky yesterday.
The Asian Badger (Meles leucurus) is native to China, Russia, the Korean Peninsula and Kazakhstan. In some areas, they are sympatric with European Badgers, with whom they share a common ancestor. Asian Badgers are also called sand badgers, and the most common subspecies (Meles leucurus leucurus) are often referred to as sand badgers.
In general, adult male Asian Badgers can grow up to 31 inches (78 cm) in body length, and weigh about 18 pounds (8.3 kg). Females are slightly smaller, growing to 28 inches (70 cm) in body length and weighing approximately 15 pounds (7 kg). They are a diverse and adaptable species, occupying a variety of habitats within their range. They prefer to stay near sources of water, but will dig their setts in forests, steppes, tundra, and semi-deserts.
There are currently five recognized subspecies of Asian Badger:
- Meles leucurus leucurus (referred to as the common sand badger, usually displaying a light gray coat and black and white face markings)
- Meles leucurus amurensis (darker in overall coat color and smaller than other subspecies, with very faint face markings)
- Meles leucurus arenarius (light-colored coats and less striking face markings than M. l. leucurus)
- Meles leucurus sibiricus (light gray to light yellow coat color, with brown-black facial markings)
- Meles leucurus tianschanensis (darker gray or darker brown coats, which are thicker and fluffier than the other subspecies)
Asian Badgers are primarily nocturnal, and feed on a variety of foods available within their territories, which can include earthworms, insects, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, molluscs and different types of vegetation. The food most commonly consumed by Asian Badgers regardless of range or subspecies is the earthworm, supplemented by whatever else is available.
Asian Badgers can mate with each other at any time during the year, but will only give birth to their kits between January and March. In order to time the births in this way, pregnant females are able to delay implantation of the fertilized eggs until the time is right, and they will typically only give birth to one litter per year. Asian Badgers can be communal creatures in areas where food is plentiful, and family groups will practice alloparental behaviors. This means that relatives will look after the kits or chase away predators even if they are not the parents.