Coat of arms of the Russian Federation


Latin name: Meles meles
Family: Cunyi

Барсук или обыкновенный барсук, хищное млекопитающее семейства куньих, единственный вид в роде барсуков.

The length of the body is 60-90 cm, the tail is 20-24 cm; Weight - up to 24 kg, in autumn, before hibernation - up to 34 kg. The shape of the massive body is unique, it is like a forward-facing wedge, which narrows sharply toward the end of an elongated thin muzzle. The neck is short, almost invisible. The legs are short, massive, resting on the ground with the entire foot. On the fingers - long blunt claws, adapted to digging. Wool is coarse. Coloring the back and sides - brownish-gray with a silvery tinge; The bottom of the body is blackish. On the muzzle are two dark bands stretching from the nose to the ears.


It inhabits almost all of Europe (except the northern areas of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Finland), the Caucasus and the Caucasus, the Crimea, Asia Minor, Central and Southern Siberia, the south of the Far East, East China, the Korean Peninsula, Japan.


It is found mainly in mixed and taiga, less often in mountain forests; In the south of the range is found in the steppes and semi-deserts. It adheres to dry, well drained areas, but near (up to 1 km) ponds or marshy lowlands, where the fodder base is richer. The badger lives in deep holes, which digs along the slopes of sandy hills, forest ravines and gullies. Animals from generation to generation adhere to their favorite places; As shown by special geochronological studies, to some of the badger towns - several thousand years. Single individuals use simple holes, with one entrance and a nested chamber. The old badger fortifications are a complex multi-storey underground structure with several (up to 40-50) entrance and ventilation holes and long (5-10 m) tunnels leading to 2-3 extensive nesting chambers lined with dry litter located at a depth of up to 5 m. Nest boxes are often placed under the protection of an aquifer, which prevents rain and groundwater from seeping into them. Periodically, the holes are cleaned by badgers, the old litter is thrown out. Often burrow holes are occupied by other animals: foxes, raccoon dogs.


Барсук ведёт ночной образ жизни, хотя нередко его можно видеть и в светлое время суток — утром до 8, вечером — после 5—6 часов. Барсук всеяден. Питается он мышевидными грызунами, лягушками, ящерицами, птицами и их яйцами, насекомыми и их личинками, моллюсками, дождевыми червями, грибами, ягодами, орехами и травой. Во время охоты барсуку приходится обходить большие территории, обшаривая поваленные деревья, отдирая кору деревьев и пней в поисках червей и насекомых. Иногда за одну охоту барсук добывает 50—70 и больше лягушек, сотни насекомых и дождевых червей. Однако в сутки он съедает всего 0,5 кг пищи и лишь к осени сильно отъедается и нагуливает жир, который служит ему источником питания в течение зимнего сна. Это единственный представитель куньих, впадающий на зиму в спячку. В северных районах барсук уже в октябре — ноябре залегает в спячку до марта—апреля; в южных районах, где зимы мягкие и непродолжительные, он активен круглый год.


Badgers belong to monogamy. Couples they have formed in the fall, but mating and fertilization occurs at different times, and therefore changes the length of pregnancy, which has a long latent stage. Pregnancy in the female can last from 271 day (during summer mating) to 450 days (with winter). Cubs (2-6) are born: in Europe - in December - April, in Russia - in March - April. A few days later the females become fertilized again. Cubs begin to see 35-42 day, but at 3-month old they already feed themselves. In autumn, on the eve of hibernation, broods fall apart. Young females become sexually mature in the second year of life, males - on the third. The lifespan of a badger is 10-12, in captivity - up to 16 years.


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