Badgers (aka "Badger Badger Badger") is a Macromedia Flash animation by Jonti Picking, the creator of Weebl and Bob, consisting mainly of images of badgers doing calisthenics, a mushroom in front of a tree, and a snake in the desert.
The cartoon was released via the B3ta weekly e-mail newsletter on September 5, 2003. It spread wildly as an internet meme.
The lyrics of the animation are set to a gabba-style techno music loop written by Jonti. The first snake line in the lyrics is under wide dispute; various interpretations include "Argh! It's a snake", "Argh snake! Argh snake!", and "Panic - a snake!". Jonti himself says that the line is "Argh snake! Argh snake!"
A few people claim that the lyrics actually say "Magic" instead of "Badger", but careful listening reveals that this is plainly not the case. The words are more distinct on the CD version of "Badger Badger Badger" which was published on the album Pure Yak Frenzy by Weebl and Chums (Jonti and Rob Manuel).
There is some contention that rather than "Badger" the words are actually "Badgers", plural. However, the most common belief is that "Badger" is in the singular.
Stanzas 2—4 contain only eleven repetitions of "Badger" rather than the regular twelve due to a beat being skipped between the mushroom scene and the badger scene. The sound between the beats is thought to be either an intake of breath or the indefinite article "a".
During Euro 2004, Jonti released a special edition called Football Badgers to support the England team. The badgers are seen wearing England shirts and playing football, scoring endless goals against a snake goalkeeper. Instead of "badger badger badger", we hear "footy footy footy", "England England!", "Goal, its a goal, Ooh its a goal! [Scored by] England England England...", etc. Each time England scores a goal, the animation displays England's score increased by one, essentially showing how many times the animation has looped.
On Christmas Eve, 2004, Jonti released another special edition of Badgers for a Samsung Advent calendar screensaver, for which he made one animation for each of the 24 days before Christmas. "Christmas Badgers" was the animation for December 24. The badgers are dancing while wearing Santa suits; then there are presents under a tree; and then the exclamation "Hallelujah!" appears, followed by a baby Jesus. The lyrics go "Santa Santa Santa", "Presents, presents!", and "Christ! It's a Christ! Ooh, it's a Christ..."
During its time as Internet meme de jour, people recited the lyrics both online and in conversation, the tune sticking in people's heads. People are reputed to have reenacted the actions of the badgers and a live action version featuring a group of high school students has circulated on the Internet. It is not uncommon for people to assume that the animation promotes drug use, or was created under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, because of its combination of bizarre and apparently unrelated images with references to mushrooms.
Coincidentally, the flash animation could be understood to be a military pun. Badger is the NATO designation for the Tupolev Tu-16, a Cold War-era Soviet strategic bomber. This bomber was also the airplane that would deliver atomic payloads. Hence, one would see the bomber flying in, “badger, badger, badger” and when the bomb was dropped all one would see would be a “mushroom” cloud.
Domain war – badgerbadgerbadger.com vs. badgerx3.com
Shortly after the animation was first published, a person known as "Kay0909" created the site badgerbadgerbadger.com and placed a copy of the badgers animation there, without permission from Jonti. Kay used the hosting services of Joako.net, who ultimately owned the domain name. Kay later reached an agreement with Jonti, which permitted Kay to use the animation provided only Google advertisments were shown on the site and he linked back to the original weebls-stuff.com site. Kay registered his own domain, badgerx3.com (hosted at ipaska.com) and made badgerbadgerbadger.com visits automatically redirect to there.
Due to a disagreement over advert revenues, Joako locked Kay out of badgerbadgerbadger.com and took over the site. Joako removed the redirection, claimed Kay had "hacked" the site, claimed badgerbadgerbadger.com was the "official" site for the badgers animation and wrote to Kay's new hosting providers, demanding they take down badgerx3.com.
Jonti has publicly stated his support for badgerx3.com, due to giving his permission to Kay rather than Joako, and Joako's violation of Jonti's requirements.