What Big Claws You Have

It’s April and that can only mean one thing.  That’s right, the post counter has been reset.  Figured tonight was a good night to start seeing as how I’d rather be sitting for an hour rather than working on a project.  This is due to having started my 50th round of rehab on the body.  This time I finally broke down and opted for the complete overhaul of my running mechanics combined with professional recovery and rebuilding of the body.  The constant injuries was definitely a catalyst for this decision – figured if I’m ever going to get in any condition to potentially tackle a marathon I better make sure the foundation is correctly built.  What I wasn’t expecting is how hard this was going to be.  After my gait assessment this week I have a LOT of changes to make.  Words of wisdom for you runners out there, when you manage to damage yourself pretty good.. take time off to get it fixed.  Apparently my body decided it would start compensating for its stupid owner which is likely the root of the problem.  Coupled with that is some serious torture they cleverly disguise by calling it message therapy.  Let me tell you, what it really means is warming up your leg with ultrasound (which actually feels good) and then digging the hell out of your leg to break up a 3.5″ band of scar tissue imbedded in your hamstring – god please don’t let me cry in public!  I got to thinking about this torture and immediately thought of the perfect post to compliment it.

Let us all welcome a new animal to the blog.  Just in case you prefer to hang out in the urban jungle, this here is a Badger.  While I was looking for the set of pictures that was supposed to be April’s theme, I discovered a shoot at Wildlife Prairie Park taken back in May ’12.  Somehow this had slipped through the crack on my post processing.  As the Yang and the Um goes, the bad of being unable to locate the original post has allowed for the discovery of an entirely new set for your pleasure.  The other set has been found, but we’ll get to those after a few posts from our favorite local wildlife sanctuary.

We have been visiting Wildlife Prairie Park since the day we both arrived in Peoria (when we were just two wide eyed kids out on a secret date).   From those initial visits up to this one I can’t remember a single time that this Badger ever showed itself.  The Badger enclosure is somewhat off on its own and has a few clay drainage pipes situated throughout giving it ample places to hide.   Based on the number of holes this boar (or sow) had dug it must spend sometime in the open.  To say I was surprised to see both of their Badgers out and about is an understatement.  Immediately the shutter was in full snap.

Hit the jump to read more about this interesting creature!

How about some interesting facts about this shy creature.  First of all I was not aware they are considered part of the weasel family.  Generally when weasels come to mind I think of large ferrets all cute and cuddly like.  What doesn’t come to mind is a vicious fighter capable of defending itself (especially when with cubs) from bears and wolves – according to our friends over at Wikipedia.  Having a great appreciation for the killer instincts of wolves, gives the Badger high marks in my book.  Get this, they even mention that they will sometimes hunt in cooperation with coyotes.  Oh, this makes a little more sense now, they are considered nocturnal animals – although I will say a nocturnal animal in a day park doesn’t exactly mesh well with the visitors.  Hey, want to know one of the features that make them so capable of defending themselves…

Yikes!  Get on the wrong end of those razors and you’ll be looking for the nearest blood donor.  By the way, I really like the shot above.  It looks like its gathering up all its might to heave that log clean out of the enclosure.  In reality it was stretching having just came out of a deep slumber (but the other story has so much more life).  Guessing those cleats are the reason it can run in the 18 mile an hour range.  Here’s a better shot of those talons (at the cost of some facial clarity).

When they are not being used to intimidate predators, those claws are the means to food.  Badgers are actually Fossorial Carnivores.  What, you don’t know what that is?  Well, then I was right with you.  Made it through my biology classes and never once heard of that term either.  Basically it means they rely on food adapted to living underground.  As clearly evident from their pen, these creatures are big ass moles which by definition drops them significantly on my trust scale.  Unfortunately unlike moles, they would likely rip my reliable pitchfork out of my hands and beat me over the head with it.

As with any shoot, there are times when you are working in the digital darkroom and wish you could give yourself a swift kick in the ass.  The excitement of the moment must have superseded my attention to composition.  If the Beast would have been backed off a few clicks, the following shot would have been very nice.

But alas, the head took a chop (inside joke, that my mother must have taken the shot).  It is always appreciated when a photographer can get direct feedback on what its subject thinks of his work.

If you want to learn more about just how bad-ass these creatures are, I highly recommend checking out this very informative (or rather humorous) YouTube video on the Honey Badger (link here).

That’s all folks – time to go stretch and practice some new running form drills (big fun .. NOT).

Hope you enjoyed this Wisconsin mascot.

4 thoughts on “What Big Claws You Have”

  1. Being badgered, Brian?

    So if these are weasel family members, not porcine, why are they called sows and boars??

    Anyway, good shots of an animal that’s hard to get a look at. I don’t know if I’ve ever really seen a badger. But what an unpleasant animal to look at. For once, I think I agree with Linda.



  2. Cute… odd I never even thought of that pun

    Now that I had to just look up what porcine means I can respond with a resounding .. no clue. But oddly enough, rather than piglet their offspring are called cubs. It may be that no one actually saw this animal and simply heard it snorting underground and decided it was really just a pig … with REALLY sharp and long hooves.

    agree with Linda for once.. you funny, you crack me up


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