Hog Badger
Hog Badger (Arctonyx collaris) has a complicated taxonomy and there are potential splits to consider. We record two distinctive types of this animal – a smaller forest dwelling form at Labahe and Tangjiahe and larger more robust animals that lives on grasslands/alpine forest margins, up to altitudes of 4,000m, on Balang Shan and other alpine habitats along the western edge of the Sichuan Basin. There are suggestions of splitting the species into Southern (A. c. collaris) and Northern (A. c. albogularis), which make our badgers all Northern. However the issue is further complicated by existence of further subspecies – Chinese Hog Badger (A. c. leucolaemus), which might be the type found at Tangjiahe, since its distribution includes Southern Gansu, with which Tangjiahe borders, and Greater Hog Badger (A. c. collaris), having an Eastern Himalayan distribution, that might be the larger upland animals we see at Balang. On the Tibetan Plateau, Hog Badger is replaced by Asian. Identification is through facial markings and the distinctive pig like snout, which is used for digging prey and plant items. In forest situation we only see as nocturnal but on grasslands we often see during daytime

 

Asian Badger
Asian Badger (Meles leucurus) is very similar to European but they are generally lighter in pelage. This is the badger we see on the Tibetan Plateau and although most of our sightings are nocturnal it is also seen during daylight hours. On the plateau we don’t find large numbers of animals at sets but usually singles or pairs hunting/foraging, sometimes with Tibetan Foxes trailing and ready to pirate any prey species the badgers have dug. Among prey items, we have witnessed them digging up and taking Zokor. We have also found the species in agricultural land around Ganzi and semi-desert areas around Chaka Salt Lake, Qinghai, which indicates they are not restricted to grasslands.

 

Chinese Ferret Badger
Chinese Ferret Badger (Melogale moschata) also goes under the common name of Small-toothed. We have recorded it a Labahe and Tangjiahe and have found it as roadkill at various sites. We mainly find it in lower forest habitat, but the dead animals have been found in agricultural areas and there are reports of sightings close to Chengdu. However, it is shy species and can be difficult to find. Small size and distinctive body shape make it easy to identify and all or our sightings, bar just two, have been made during nighttime.