Kaeng Krachan National Park has once again given us a another fascinating insight into Thailand's cryptic mammal species, this time a hog badger (Arctonyx collaris). A terrestrial mustelid that is widespread throughout Southeast Asia.
The world’s largest badger, the hog badger (Arctonyx collaris) is aptly named for its unusual pig-like snout. The fur on it's body is generally brown in colour but shades vary between individuals and populations and sometimes, as seen clearly here, a distinctive yellow colouration is present.The head is yellow-white, as is the thick tail and two distinctive dark stripes run from the snout, past the eyes, to the back of the head The throat, ears and tail are white, the belly is black, and the short, black legs bear long powerful white claws.
The hog badger is active both by day and by night, resting in burrows which may either be natural structures, such as rock crevices, or excavated by the badger in the loose forest soils using its long claws.
An omnivorous species, the hog badger is believed to specialize in earthworms, but also feeds on roots, tubers, insects and small vertebrates. It is thought to use its pig like snout to root in the undergrowth for food, as well as using its powerful claws to access food deeper in the forest soils.
The hog badger is predated by the dhole (Cuon alpinus), the tiger (Panthera tigris) and the leopard (Panthera pardus). The distinctive stripes on the face of the badger may be interpreted as aposematic, meaning they act to warn potential predators of the hog badger’s ability to release noxious odours from its anal scent glands, or its ferocity when threatened.
It is likely that the secretions from its anal scent glands are also used to mark territory. The following video offers another fascinating Kaeng Krachan insight into a wild hog badger scent marking, presumably marking territory, both by spray and rubbing behaviours.
Details of the snout and claws.