Japanese Badger
800px-Meles meles anakuma at Inokashira Park Zoo
Range Japan, where it is found on Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Shodoshima.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Mustelidae
Genus Meles
Species M. anakuma
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Japanese badger (Meles anakuma) is a species of carnivoran of the family Mustelidae, the weasels and their kin. It is endemic to Japan, where it is found on Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Shodoshima.


Japanese badgers are nocturnal and hibernate during the coldest months of the year. Beginning at 2 years of age, females mate and give birth to litters of two or three cubs in the spring (March-April). They mate again shortly afterwards, but delay implantation until the following February. Japanese badgers are more solitary than European badgers; they do not aggregate into social clans, and mates do not form pair bonds. During mating season, the range of a male badger overlaps with those of 2 to 3 females.


Japanese badgers are found in a variety of woodland and forest habitats.


Although they remain common, their range has shrunk recently. They presently range over about 29 per cent of the country, an area that has shrunk 7 per cent over the last 25 years. Increased land development and agriculture, as well as competition from introduced raccoons are threats. Hunting is legal but has declined sharply since the 1970s.

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