Watch a Badger Chase Away a Deer, Then Celebrate!

American Badger
Alicia Marvin/Shutterstock.com

Written by Jesse Elop

Updated: October 18, 2023

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Interactions between animals can be extremely cool to see when they’re caught on camera. That is certainly the case here! In this video, a badger decides to take on a deer! What this video does not show is why the badger wanted to chase off the deer. Or if the deer did not flee, would there have been a fight? Come watch this super cool video of a badger chasing off a deer! Then, you can learn about what’s going on behind the scenes of this animal interaction.

Watch the Hilarious Video Footage Below:

What Is a Badger?

Badgers are members of the family Mustelidae. Other members of this family, and therefore close relatives to badgers, include weasels, otters, ferrets, martens, minks, and wolverines. Within this family there are four badger subfamilies- Melinae (e.g., European badger), Helictidinae (e.g., ferret badger), Mellivorinae (e.g., honey badger), and Taxideinae (e.g., American badger). There are 15 total species of badgers.

Badgers are small mammals almost completely covered in fur. They typically have short legs, making them very cute, lap-dog-size animals. They may be cute, but badgers are aggressive and have very long claws! Badgers use those claws to hunt and rely on both meat and plants in their diet.

Badger Animal Facts - A Budget Tunnel

Badgers are relatives to weasels.

The different species of badgers look remarkably different. Honey badgers are entirely black except for a light brown, goldish patch on their backs and the tops of their heads. The European badger looks completely different. It has grey and white fur on its back and darker fur on its underside. It also has distinct markings on its face. Its face is white but there are black stripes stretching from the badger’s ears to its nose. The American badger has brown fur on its back and a lighter belly. Its face is dark brown with a tan line down its forehead and tan triangles over its eyes. Ferret badgers are easy to identify despite having similar colors to the other badgers because it is particularly small. It resembles a ferret more so than the other badgers.

Can you identify which subspecies of badger is chasing off the deer in the video?

What Is a Deer?

Red Deer - Animal, Deer, Forest, Slovakia, Agricultural Field

Deer are herbivores, meaning one likely wouldn’t pose much threat to a badger.

Deer are ungulates which means they are hooved, typically large mammals in the clade Ungulata. Other ungulates include zebras, tapirs, horses, cows, and many others. More specifically, deer are members of the family Cervidae.

Cervidae includes two subfamilies: Cervinae and Capreolinae. Cervinae includes the muntjac, elk, red deer, and fallow deer. Capreolinae is the subfamily containing caribou, white-tailed deer, roe deer, and moose. All deer are herbivores and rely solely on grazing or browsing plants. Interestingly, deer are specialized herbivores. This means they are selective with the plants they eat in order to optimize protein content, digestibility, and toxicity. Not only do they just eat plants, but they eat only a select few plants.

The different types of deer have wildly variable physical traits. For example, there is a wide range of body sizes among deer species. The largest type of deer is the moose, which can weigh up to 1,500 pounds! In contrast, a very small type of deer is the Muntjac. Muntjacs typically only weigh 30 pounds, 50 times less than a large male moose! Other characteristics that vary between deer species are coat color or pattern, body shape, antlers, standing height, and more.

Why Might a Badger Chase a Deer?

What do badgers eat - badger eating carrion

A deer may chase a badger for a variety of reasons not directly related to wanting to eat it.

Feeding Competition

One reason a badger might chase after a deer is feeding competition. Sometimes, if multiple animals rely on the same food source, there will be competition for access to it. Eventually, one species will control the food source and attempt to protect it. In the case of the badger and the deer, this is an unlikely explanation for the chase. Badgers are omnivorous and deer are specialized herbivores with a very specific diet. It is unlikely there would be substantial conflict over access to food.

Protecting Territory

Badgers are extremely territorial animals. This means they claim an area or a resource and defend it from other animals, often defending against members of the same species as well. If the badger felt like the deer was encroaching on its territory it may attack or chase it out of the area. Also, in all badger species females care for the young. Females are particularly aggressive and protective of their offspring and may chase off a potential threat. Deer, however, are very submissive and are not seen by many animals as threatening. They often coexist with other species in the same areas peacefully.

Why Might a Deer Flee From the Badger?

Badger and deer

Deer are easily frightened, meaning badgers can easily chase them off.

Aside from angry badgers, many different things can frighten animals like deer. If an animal is frightened, it triggers a biological response known as the fight or flight response. When an animal perceives danger, the chemicals epinephrine and norepinephrine are released from the adrenal medulla and cause a number of physiological responses. These chemicals have many effects that prioritize essential body functions and improve muscle performance.

Responses include a faster heart rate, faster breathing, an increase in blood pressure, dilation of muscle blood vessels and constriction of other blood vessels, “tunnel vision” (blurring of periphery vision), and several others. These physiological changes allow for faster and longer running, optimal strength, increased focus, and vigilance, amongst others. The fight or flight response allows animals to either run away from a perceived threat or help them face it. This chemical response also occurs in humans under stress or in life-threatening situations.


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About the Author

Jesse Elop is a graduate from the University of Oregon now working at the University of Washington National Primate Research Center. He is passionate about wildlife and loves learning about animal biology and conservation. His favorite animals- besides his pup, Rosie- are zebras, mandrills, and bonobos. Jesse's background in biology and anthropology have supplied him with many fun facts that might just pop up in some of his articles!

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