Badgers are short-legged, heavy-set carnivores in the weasel family, Mustelidae. There are some eight species of badger, in three subfamilies (see links in species list below): Melinae (badgers of Europe and Asia), Mellivorinae (the Ratel or honey badger), and Taxideinae (the American badger). The Asiatic stink badgers of the genus Mydaus were formerly included in the Melinae and Mustelidae, but recent genetic evidence indicates that these are actually closer relatives of the skunks, now often put with them in the separate family Mephitidae.
Typical badgers include the species in the genera Meles, Arctonyx, Taxidea and Mellivora species. Their lower jaw is articulated to the upper by means of a transverse condyle firmly locked into a long cavity of the cranium, so that dislocation of the jaw is all but impossible. This enables the badger to maintain its hold with the utmost tenacity, but limits its jaw movement to hingeing open and shut, or sliding from side to side without the twisting movement possible for the jaws of most mammals.