The hog badger (Arctonyx collaris), also known as greater hog badger, is a terrestrial mustelid native to Central and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because the global population is thought to be declining due to high levels of poaching.
It has medium-length brown hair, stocky body, white throat, two black stripes on an elongated white face and a pink, pig-like snout. The head-and-body length is 55–70 cm (22–28 in), the tail measures 12–17 cm (4.7–6.7 in) and the body weight is 7–14 kg (15–31 lb). With weights regularly reported from 8.4 to 12 kg (19 to 26 lb) it is one of the world's largest terrestrial extant mustelids going on average body mass, perhaps behind only the wolverine and rivaling the European badger (although it is not known to rival the weights of the latter, better-known badger during autumn hypophagia).
Its appearance generally resembles the European badger, but it is generally smaller, with larger claws on the front feet. Its tail has long white hairs, and its front feet have white claws.
Hog badger is considered fairly common in Thailand and in tropical evergreen forests and grasslands of the Terai in north-eastern India and eastern Bangladesh. It occurs in Indochina and in southern China. Its distribution in Myanmar is considered patchy. In the Indonesian island of Sumatra, hog badger occurs primarily above 2,000 m (6,600 ft) with one record at 700 m (2,300 ft). There is one isolated record in eastern Mongolia.
The IUCN considers the greater hog badger (A. collaris), the northern hog badger (A. albogularis) and the Sumatran hog badger (A. hoevenii) as three separate species. The greater hog badger is listed as a Vulnerable species. The other two are listed as Least Concern.
The hog badger is omnivorous, its diet consists of fruits, roots and small animals.
Hog badgers are distributed primarily in Southeast Asia, starting from Sikkim and northeastern China to Thailand. They are found on the Indian subcontinent and the island of Sumatra. Hog badgers do not appear to be migratory from winter to summer. They are also native to both the Palearctic and Oriental regions. There was no evidence suggesting that they are an introduced species.
Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native )
Their fur color ranges from a dark grey to brown, while tail color ranges from white to a light yellow. Two dark stripes are found on the face, and the throat is white in color. The most notable feature is the "pig-like snout" that is used for feeding, along with modified teeth specifically used to move soil. Tail lengths range from 12 cm to 17 cm (120 mm to 170 mm). Another notable feature used to distinguish hog badgers from the closely related Eurasian badgers is the color of their claws. Hog badgers have light-colored claws whereas Eurasian badgers have dark claws. To distinguish between hog badgers, Sumatran hog badgers, and northern hog badgers, there is a difference in skull shape and size. No information was found on the basal metabolic rate of hog badgers. However, Eurasian badgers (a closely related group), have a basal metabolic rate of 1,323 kJ per day. Also, there was little information on sexual dimorphism in hog badgers other than males are larger than females.
Range mass: 7 to 14 kg.
Range length: 55 to 70 cm.
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Hog badgers are found in grasslands, hills, mountains, tropical rainforests, tropical evergreen, and semi-evergreen forests.
Range elevation: 0 to 3,500 m.
Average elevation: 2,000 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; rainforest ; mountains
Other Habitat Features: agricultural
Hog badgers feed on a variety of things based on what is available ranging from plants to worms to small mammals. It is therefore considered an omnivore. It is able to find food using its adapted pig like snout to sense smells. They dig in the ground using their snout, incisors, and canine teeth of their lower jaws. They will also eat fruit, roots and tubers. Its favorite food appears to be terrestrial earthworms.
Animal Foods: mammals; insects; terrestrial worms
Plant Foods: roots and tubers; fruit
Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates, Insectivore , Vermivore); herbivore (Frugivore ); omnivore
There is little to no known information on the impact of hog badgers on their surrounding ecosystem. However, due to their foraging behaviors, they play some role in controlling the populations of invertebrates. Also, they aerate the soil by digging. Another interesting role they play is creating a habitat for other small animals through abandoned hog badger burrows.
Ecosystem Impact: creates habitat; soil aeration
Species Used as Host:
Hog badgers are well suited predators as they possess big claws, strong jaws, flexible skin and nasty tempers. Their coloration pattern is aposematic, meaning it has distinct coloration or patterns to warn other organisms it is dangerous and should be left alone. Hog badgers are great diggers, and can dig out of sight if it feels threatened. Also, they can produce secretions from their anal glands, but it is unknown whether or not that is a defense mechanism. Their only known predators are tigers and leopords.
Anti-predator Adaptations: aposematic
There is no information known about the communication patterns for hog badgers. However, it is suggested that tactile communication and communication via scents may be used as seen in other species of belonging to the badgers, otters, weasels family.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
There is no information known for the lifespan of hog badgers in the wild. However, in captivity the average lifespan is 14 years old.
Status: captivity: 15.8 (high) years.
Status: captivity: 14 years.
Status: captivity: 13.9 years.
There is little information known on the mating system for hog badgers. However, there is some information about the badgers, otters, weasels family. Males begin their sexual seasons before the females, and therefore, initiate breeding. This is often done by first obtaining territory.
The breeding period occurs from April to September, with the gestation period being 5 to 9.5 months long. Their litter size is 2 to 4 cubs. Although there is no information known about the sexual maturity of the two sexes, the information about the badgers, otters, weasels family offers some insight about what might occur for hog badgers, as well. For the badgers, otters, weasels family, females reach sexual maturity after 2 to 3 months, whereas the males do not reach sexual maturity until they are a year old. Also, there is little to know of the time of independence in hog badgers. However, American badgers (a similar species) have a time of independence of 5 to 6 months.
Breeding interval: Hog badgers breed once yearly during warmer months.
Breeding season: Hog badgers mate from April to September.
Range number of offspring: 2 to 4.
Range gestation period: 5 to 9.5 months.
Average weaning age: 4 months.
Range time to independence: 5 to 6 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 to 3 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous ; delayed implantation
Average birth mass: 58 g.
Average number of offspring: 3.
Females are the primary caretakers of the young, and wean them for up to 4 months. Currently no information is available regarding specifics of parental care.
Parental Investment: female parental care ; pre-fertilization; pre-hatching/birth; pre-weaning/fledging; pre-independence
Hog badgers, in 1996, were listed least concerned. However, their population is decreasing, and they are currently listed as near threatened. In Thailand and India, they are under high protected statuses under law. They are threatened due to the use of hunting dogs in all of Indochina.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened
There is no known adverse effects of hog badgers on humans. However, its relatives, Eurasian badgers, have been known to carry bovine tuberculosis. There is a possibility that hog badgers could also carry diseases common to livestock. Hog badgers and Eurasian badgers have a similar diet and have been known to damage crops.
Negative Impacts: crop pest; causes or carries domestic animal disease
There is little known evidence to suggest a positive benefit to humans from hog badgers. However, some groups in India eat hog badgers, and they are hunted and farmed for food in China. In Lao, taste preference for hog badgers varies among ethnic groups. Some groups do not care for their meat, whereas groups in parts of the Nam Theun basin seek them for food.
Positive Impacts: food