Badger Paw Print

 

North American Badger:

The American Badger is a carnivore and is in the same family as the weasel, ferret and wolverine.  They are stocky and low-slung with short, powerful legs, they are identifiable by their huge foreclaws measuring up to 2 inches long. They are covered with a grizzled, silvery coat of coarse hair or fur. They have a triangular face with a distinctive black and white pattern, with brown or blackish "badges" marking the cheeks. A white dorsal stripe extends back over the head from the nose. In northern populations, this stripe ends near the shoulders. In southern populations, however, it continues over the back to the rump. Males are significantly larger than females and can weigh as much as 25 pounds.



Adult Badger -
note the long claws used for digging
   

Badgers liver alone and are always digging - either to find food (mainly rodents) or to make new dens. They find most of their prey by digging. It uses its well-developed senses of smell and hearing to detect its prey, then digs at a rapid rate in order to uncover the unfortunate victims.

Litters of 1 to 5 offspring, with an average of 3, are born in early spring. Females are able to mate when they are 4 months old, but males do not mate until the autumn of their second year. Most females mate after their first year.

Average lifespan in the wild ranges from 4-10 years. They have been known to live up to 26 years in captivity.



Baby Badger about 6 weeks old
   

Geographic Range:

The badger is found in the western & central United States, northern Mexico and Central Canada. Wide open plains and deciduous woodlands are the principal habitats occupied by the American badger, but across its range a wide variety of habitats are utilised, and the species can also be found in mountainous areas up as far as the arctic-alpine zone, farmland, marshy areas, prairies and deserts.

   

Food Preferences:

The American badger is largely carnivorous. Over most parts of its range the badger can find a particular species of small mammal which it specializes on, although it will of course eat any other suitable prey that it comes across when hunting. In some areas ground squirrels are abundant, in others the badger may specialize on mice, pocket gophers, kangaroo rats, prairie dogs or cottontail rabbits. Marmots, chipmunks, deer mice, voles and even young skunks will also be taken when found.

In addition to small mammals, the American badger will also dig for smaller creatures, such as the larvae of beetles, bees, wasps and even hornets. Other insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and caterpillars are also taken from the ground surface and from low vegetation.

Other animals taken by badgers include ground-nesting birds and their eggs, snakes (including rattlers), lizards, frogs and toads. Vegetable material including cereals are also occassionally eaten.



Adult Badger
   

Enemies:

Humans, automobiles, mites, ticks, fleas, various parasitic worms, some fungal, bacterial and viral infections.



Badger - Released