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Sex determination in badgers

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Male or female?
Determining the sex of a badger is not an easy task because of the mutual resemblance of the sexes. Generally speaking, males are bigger, heavier, and more muscular than females. Males also tend to have a wider head with fuller cheeks and a thicker neck than females. Females generally have a wider, fuller tail.
However, the sex of a badger can never be accurately determined based on appearance alone!

Regularly, small badgers turn out to be males and very large badgers turn out to be females. The largest badger we have measured was a female for example. She was killed in a wildlife collision in Beers on 01-09-2015 and had a remarkable length of 93 cm from head to tail. On the other hand, one of the smallest badgers we have measured was just 68 cm long. This badger was killed in a wildlife collision in Sint-Michielsgestel on 12-04-2015 and turned out to be an adult male.

Occasionally, male badgers are mistaken for females. Dead bloated male badgers are sometimes incorrectly assumed to be pregnant females because of their distended belly. Incorrect interpretation of the anatomy of a badger, such as mistaking the anal gland for an anus and the anus for a vagina, can also lead to false conclusions.
Both males and females have 6 nipples on their abdomen. Lactating females or females that have had young in the past have considerably larger nipples than males or females that haven’t had young.

The only way to get 100% certainty is to roll the animal onto their back and investigate!


Male badger Male badger

  Male badgers have a penis bone (Baculum). It can be easily found, often even in a carcass in an advanced state of decomposition.
Badger's penis bone Badger penis bone (Baculum)


Female badger Female badger

  Lactating sow badgers have clearly swollen teats, which sometimes produce milk when pressed, and bald spots in the fur around them.
Lactating sow badger Lactating sow badger