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19 December 2016

The monster of Crete

Crete is an undengerous island. There are no dangerous animals or venomous reptiles on the land and no dangerous fishes in the sea.

The biggest carnivore animal is the badger a small mammal which is very rare to meet. For the Cretans its monstrous fame is much more bigger than his size.

Badger (Meles meles) is the biggest carnivore mammal in Crete.

It is nocturnal omnivore animal and seeks its food in the dusk.

Their main food source is earthworms. They eat also large insects, carrion, cereals, fruit and small mammals. Brown bears and badgers are the least carnivorous members of the carnivora

An adult can eat food equal to 3.4% of its weight and they do not transport food to their dens.

They are very social animals and form groups of 6 to 23 adults. They can live up to 15 years in the wild.

Cubs are borned pink, with greyish, silvery fur. It takes six to nine weeks to fully develop their adult coats.

Badger has the ability to stop the development of the zygote prior to implantation in the uterus until the climatic conditions become favorable.

Badgers are burrowing animals. They build very complex dens (setts) that can accommodate many families with their own private family passages and nesting chambers. They can have up to fifty exits and some of them are used only for emergency or play.
Their territories can be from 30 ha to 150 ha.

The barrows are passed on from generation to generation.
The nesting chamber is located 5–10m from the entrance, and 1m -2,3 meters under the ground.
Budgers prefer to dig their barrow next to trees, which are used for stretching or claw scraping.

They love cleanliness. In the sunny days of the winter they take their bedding outside of the sett and back inside later in the afternoon.

Badgers defecate in latrines, near their sett

Their olfaction is acute. Their vision is monochromatic and only moving objects attract their attention. Their hearing is the same as humans.

They have a subcaudal gland and an anal gland which secretes smelling substances.

They are very durable animals. Their thick loose skin, covered with long hair and the strong skull is a very good protection.

It is possible to be tamed but they do not like the presence of cats and dogs, and chase them.

The badger's hair was used in the past for making, high quality shaving and painting brushes. It's hair is ideal for shaving brushes because it retains the hot water while shaving. In China badgers are farmed for this purpose

The subspecies of the European badgers:

• Common badger (Meles meles meles)
• Cretan badger (Meles meles arcalus)
• Trans Caucasian badger (Meles meles canascens)
• Kizlyar badger (Meles meles heptneri)
• Iberian badger (Meles meles marianensis)
• Norwegian badger (Meles meles milleri)
• Rhodes badger (Meles meles rhodius)
• Fergana badger (Meles meles severzovi)
source: wikipedia