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BADGER

Badgers are short-legged omnivors in the family Mustelidae which also includes the otters, polecats, weasels, and wolverines. The 11 species of badger are grouped in three subfamilies: Melanae (9 Eurasian badgers), Mellivorinae (the honey badger or ratel), and Taxideinae (the American badger). Their lower jaws are articulated to the upper by means of transversecondyles firmly locked into long cavities of the skull so dislocation of the jaw is all but impossible. This enables the badgers to maintain their hold with the utmost tenacity, but limits jaw movement to hinging open and shut, or sliding from side to side without the twisting movement possible for the jaws of most mammals. Badgers have rather short, fat bodies, with short legs for digging. The European badger is one of the largest; the American badger, the hog badger and the honey badger are generally a little smaller and lighter. The stink badgers are smaller still, and the ferret badgers are the smallest of all.