Skip to main content
Log in

Sett site selection by the Japanese badger Meles anakuma in a grassland/forest mosaic

Mammal Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Cite this article


The Japanese badger (Meles anakuma) is an endemic species in Japan. Although it has been considered a forest-dwelling species, a recent study has shown that badgers use pastures intensively to feed on earthworms, suggesting that pastures comprise an important habitat for them. Therefore, this study investigated the distribution of this species’ setts (≥ 1 m deep) and couches (< 1 m deep) in a mosaic habitat composed of grasslands and forests. A significantly higher number of setts and couches were located at the forest edge neighboring to grassland than within the grassland or the inner part of the forest. This suggests that Japanese badgers preferentially construct their setts and couches near grasslands for easier access while avoiding various disturbances. This study found that significantly more setts and couches were situated on the north-facing slope, suggesting that this location avoids the trampling disturbances caused by the sika deer’s (Cervus nippon) feeding activities, due to slow snow thawing. The proper conservation of Japanese badgers would require recognizing the grasslands’ neighboring forest edge as an important sett or couch site.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Benham PFJ, Broom DM (1989) Interactions between cattle and badgers at pasture with reference to bovine tuberculosis transmission. Br Vet J 145:226–241

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Butler J, Roper TJ, Clark AJ (1994) Investigation of badger (Meles meles) setts using soil resistivity measurements. J Zool 232:409–418

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Drewe JA, O'Connor HM, Weber N, Mcdonald RA, Delahay RJ (2013) Patterns of direct and indirect contact between cattle and badgers naturally infected with tuberculosis. Epidemiol Infect 141:1467–1475

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Funakoshi K, Shigenobu E (2006) The ecology of Japanese badgers in Kagoshima. Shizen-aigo 32:1–4 (in Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (2016) Digital Elevation Model (DEM10) 10-m data. Accessed 11 July 2019

  • Hata A, Tsukada H, Washida A, Mitsunaga T, Takada MB, Suyama T, Takeuchi M (2019) Temporal and spatial variation in the risk of grazing damage to sown grasslands by sika deer (Cervus nippon) in a mountainous area, central Japan. Crop Prot 119:185–190

  • Hijikata K, Minami M, Tsukada H (in press) Food habits and habitat utilization of the Japanese badger (Meles anakuma) in a grassland/forest mosaic. Mamm Stud

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (2016) The IUCN red list of threatened species, version 2016–3. Accessed 11 July 2019

  • Japan Wildlife Research Center (2004) The national survey on the natural environment, report of the distributional survey of Japanese animals (mammals). Biodiversity Center of Japan, Fujiyoshida (in Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaneko Y (2002) Inner structure of the badger (Meles meles) home range in Hinode-town (perspectives on the mammalian home range study by telemetry). Jpn J Ecol 52:243–252 (in Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaneko Y (2008) Life history and ecology–Japanese badger. In: Takatsuki S, Yamagiwa J (eds) Middle-, and large-sized mammals including primates (Mammalogy in Japan 2). University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, pp 76–99 (in Japanese)

  • Kaneko Y (2015) Meles anakuma Temminck, 1842. In: Ohdachi SD, Ishibashi Y, Iwasa MA, Fukui D, Saitoh T (eds) The Wild Mammals of Japan, second edn. SHOUKADOH Book Sellers, Kyoto, pp 266–268

  • Kaneko Y, Maruyama N, Macdonald DW (2006) Food habits and habitat selection of suburban badgers (Meles meles) in Japan. J Zool 270:78–89

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaneko Y, Buesching CD, Newman C (2017) Japan: Unjustified killing of badgers in Kyushu. Nature 544:7649

  • Kruuk H (1989) The Social Badger, Ecology and Behavior of a Group-living Carnivore (Meles meles). Oxford University Press, Oxford

  • Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan (2018) Third revision to the 4th Version of the Japanese Red Lists. (in Japanese) Accessed 10 March 2019

  • Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan (2013) FY2011 game statistics, Japan. Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan. (in Japanese)

  • Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan (2019) FY2016 game statistics, Japan. Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan. (in Japanese)

  • Neal E (1972) The national badger survey. Mammal Rev 2:55–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neal EG, Roper TJ (1991) The environmental impact of badgers (Meles meles) and their setts. Symp Zool Soc London 63:89–106

  • Neal EG, Cheeseman CL (1996) Badgers. T & AD Poyser Natural History, London

  • Piza-Roca C, van't Zelfde M, La Haye MJJ, Jongejans E, Raes N (2018) European badger habitat requirements in the Netherlands–combining ecological niche models with neighbourhood analysis. Wildl Biol 2018.

  • R Core Team (2017) R: A language and environment for statistical computing (version 3.4. 2). Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. www. R-proje ct. org. Accessed 10 March 2019

  • Takeuchi T, Matsuki R, Abe S, Nashimoto M, Hirata T, Ueno C, Tasaki K (2012) Habitat suitability analysis of badgers as a representative species for ecosystem impact assessment. Jpn Soc Imp Assessment 10:62–72 (in Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Tanaka H (2002) Ecology and social system of the Japanese badger, Meles meles anakuma (Carnivora; Mustelidae) in Yamaguchi, Japan. University of Yamaguchi, Dissertation (in Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Tanaka H, Yamanaka A, Endo K (2002) Spatial distribution and sett use by the Japanese badger, Meles meles anakuma. Mamm Stud 27:15–22

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tsukada H (2011) Effect of grazing on habitat and behavior of wild mammals. JIFS 8:49–54

    Google Scholar 

  • Tsukada H, Ishikawa K, Shimizu N (2012) Damage to round bale silage caused by sika deer (Cervus nippon) in central Japan. Grassl Sci 58:179–187

  • Tsukada H, Kida T, Kitagawa M, Suyama T, Shimizu N (2013) Simple quantitative method for estimation of herbage damage caused by sika deer (Cervus nippon). Grassl Sci 59:146–155

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Washida A (2017) Utilization of herbage grasses and Sasa bamboos by sika deer inhabiting at a mountainous ranch in Gunma prefecture. Azabu University, Master thesis of the Graduate School of Veterinary Science (in Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson DE, Reeder DM (2005) Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. JHU Press, Maryland

    Google Scholar 

  • Yamamoto Y (1989) Researches of setts of Meles meles anakuma in Mt. Nyugasa, Nagano prefecture. Natl Environ Sci Lab 2:131–139 (in Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Yamazaki K, Saeki M, Takeuchi M, Oikawa H (2009) The present status of the raccoon, an alien mammal, and its control in Ibaraki prefecture, central Japan. Bull Ibaraki Nat Mus 12:41–49 (in Japanese)

Download references


We appreciate the assistance of the Kouzu Dairy Farm staff, the field work assistance by Nanami Kouso, Tomomi Harada, and Yujiro Tomita, and the assistance of members of the Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University.


This study was partly supported by the JSPS KAKENHI Grant No. 17K8189 and by the research fund of Shimonita Geopark.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hideharu Tsukada.

Additional information

Communicated by: Rafał Kowalczyk

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tsukada, H., Kawaguchi, Y., Hijikata, K. et al. Sett site selection by the Japanese badger Meles anakuma in a grassland/forest mosaic. Mamm Res 65, 517–522 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: