Badgers mate during May, have a gestation period of 6-8 weeks and give birth 6 months later while in hibernation. How can they gestate for 2 months but give birth 6 months after mating? At conception the fertilized egg (blastocyst) remains viable but does not implant into the uterus and does not continue to divide and grow. In a way the fertilized egg is in a state of suspended animation. The blastocyst remains dormant for nearly 6 months! Badgers are able to delay implantation of the egg until winter. During hibernation, the egg will implant into the uterus and gestate for 6-8 weeks. The cubs are born during hibernation and nurse and grow until spring. WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF DELAYED IMPLANTATION? In a nutshell, if the female is “fat” and healthy and biologically able to support cubs while in hibernation then the egg implants and becomes a developing embryo. If the female is undernourished and biologically unfit to nurse and support offspring, then the egg will not implant and simply resorb. Delayed Implantation is an adaptive and survival mechanism that ensures the survival of both the female and her offspring. If the female went into hibernation “skinny” and malnourished, she would not have the reserves to nurse cubs and maintain her own health. She could conceivably die and so would the cubs.