Asian badger

Asian badger
Asian badger
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Mustelinae
Genus: Meles
Species: M. leucurus
Binomial name
Meles leucurus
Hodgson, 1847[2]
Asian badger range

The Asian badger (Meles leucurus), also known as the sand badger is a species of badger native to China, Kazakhstan, the Korean Peninsula and Russia.



Asian badgers are mostly lighter in colour than European badgers, though some forms may closely approach the former species in colour, if not darker, with smudges of ocherous and brownish highlights. The flanks are lighter than the middle of the back, and the facial stripes are usually brown rather than black. Unlike the facial stripes of European badgers, those of Asian badgers narrow behind their eyes and extend above the ears. The white parts of the head are usually dirtier in colour than those of European badgers. The light stripe passing along the top of the head between the two stripes is relatively short and narrow. They are generally smaller than their European cousins, and have relatively longer upper molars.[3]


Five subspecies are recognised.[4]

Subspecies Trinomial authority Description Range Synonyms
Common sand badger
Meles leucurus leucurus
Hodgson, 1847 blanfordi (Matschie, 1907)

chinensis (Gray, 1868)
hanensis (Matschie, 1907)
leptorhynchus (Milne-Edwards, 1867)
siningensis (Matschie, 1907)
tsingtauensis (Matschie, 1907)

Amur badger
Meles leucurus amurensis
Schrenck, 1859 The darkest coloured and smallest subspecies. The facial stripes extend above the ears, and are black or blackish-brown in colour. The entire area between the stripes and cheeks are dirty-greyish brown, as opposed to white. The colour can be so dark, that the stripes are almost indistinguishable. The back is greyish-brown with silver highlights. The pelage itself is soft, but is lacking in wool. The skull is small, smooth and has weakly developed projections. It lacks first premolars. Body length is 60-70 cm[5] Ussuri, Priamurye, Greater Khingan and Korean Peninsula melanogenys (J. A. Allen, 1913)

schrenkii (Nehring, 1891)

Kazakh badger
Meles leucurus arenarius
Satunin, 1895 A moderately sized subspecies, being intermediate in size between Meles m. meles and Meles m. canascens. Its colour is lighter and paler than its northern cousins, with less prominent facial stripes. Its pelage is coarse and bristly, and has scarce underfur. Boars grow to 70-78 cm in body length, while sows grow to 61-70 cm. Boars weigh 7.8-8.3 kg in March-May, and 5.6-7 kg in March-June[6] Southeastern Volga, most of Kazakhstan (excepting the northern and montane parts), the Middle Asian plains (excepting the regions occupied by Meles m. canascens and Meles m. severzovi)
Siberian badger
Meles leucurus sibiricus
Kastschenko, 1900 A moderately sized subspecies, being intermediate in size between Meles m. meles and Meles m. canascens. The general colour tone of the back is light grey, usually with yellowish or straw coloured highlights. The facial stripes are brownish-black to tawny black. The pelage is long and soft with a dense undercoat. Boars grow to 65.7-75 cm in body length, while sows grow to 62-69.2 cm. Boars weigh 10-13.6 kg[7] Siberia, including Transbaikalia and Altai, northern Kazakhstan and probably the eastern Volga aberrans (Stroganov, 1962)

altaicus (Kastschenko, 1902)
enisseyensis (Petrov, 1953)
eversmanni (Petrov, 1953)
raddei (Kastschenko, 1902)

Tien Shan badger
Meles leucurus tianschanensis
Hoyningen-Huene, 1910 A moderately sized subspecies, with a somewhat darker pelt than Meles l. arenarius and a less developed yellow sheen. The fur is longer, denser and fluffier[6] Northern Tien Shan talassicus (Ognev, 1931)

Distribution and habitat

Asian badgers have a large range including the southern portion of Russia east of the Urals, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and Korea. The species can be found within areas of high elevation (perhaps up to 4000 m) in the Ural Mountains, the Tian Shan mountains, and the Tibetan Plateau. The ranges of Asian and European badgers are separated in places by the Volga River. Asian badgers prefer open deciduous woodland and adjacent pastureland, but also inhabit coniferous and mixed woodlands, scrub and steppe. They are sometimes found in suburban areas.[1]


Asian badgers are legally hunted in China, Russia and Mongolia, as well as illegally within protected areas in China. Russia's established badger hunting season, usually takes place from August to November.[1]



  1. ^ a b c Abramov, A. & Wozencraft, C. (2008). "Meles leucurus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed). Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved 16 August 2009 
  3. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1251
  4. ^ Wozencraft, W. Christopher (16 November 2005). "Order Carnivora (pp. 532-628)". In Wilson, Don E., and Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  5. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1260–1262
  6. ^ a b Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1257–1258
  7. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1256–1257


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