Mydaus – Stink badgers

Their stripes can be either divided into two white stripes, single and thin, or completely absent

These small mammals are indigenous to Southeast Asia, including parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Despite their common name, stink badgers are more closely related to true badgers than skunks, though they share the distinctive defense mechanism of emitting a foul-smelling odor to ward off predators. This unique feature, coupled with their distinctive physical characteristics and behaviors, makes stink badgers a fascinating subject of study within the rich tapestry of Southeast Asian wildlife.

Stink badgers are characterized by their compact size, significantly smaller than many skunks, with a body length ranging from 37 to 52 cm (14.5 to 20.5 inches), including the tail. Their appearance diverges from the typical skunk pattern; stink badgers have dark fur instead of black and white stripes, often with a lighter-colored underbelly.

The stink badger’s primary defense mechanism is its ability to spray a pungent, malodorous secretion from glands near its tail’s base. While similar to the spray of skunks, the odor of stink badger’s secretion is slightly less potent but still effective enough to deter most predators. This scent can linger on predators and the environment as a powerful deterrent against future attacks.

Stink badgers are omnivorous, with a diet that includes insects, worms, small mammals, and plant material. Their foraging behavior is solitary, and they are primarily nocturnal, spending the daytime hours in burrows or dense vegetation to avoid predators and the heat of the day. Their solitary nature and nocturnal habits, along with their strong odor, contribute to the air of mystery that surrounds these creatures.