Badger facts (Taxidea taxus)


Taxidea taxus

The badger differs from other similar species (wolverine, skunk) with its long claws on the front feet and disproportionally small hind feet. The American badger is solitary, except during the breeding season. The American badger mates between July and August, but the embryos don’t really start to grow until December or February. A male badger may mate with more than one female. The female gives birth in March. She has 1-5 babies in an underground nest lined with grass. The babies are blind and covered with a thin coat of fur at birth. Their eyes open when they are four weeks old, and they are weaned by the time they are eight weeks old. The young leave their mother when they are 5-6 months old. Female badgers can mate when they are four months old; male badgers can mate when they are two years old. The American badger lives an average of 4-5 years in the wild.

Approximately the size of a medium-sized dog (such as a border collie), the badger has a flat body with long long hair and long, sharp, shovel-like claws for digging. Average adult weighs about 18 pounds (8 kg), with males growing to be about 25 percent larger than the female. The coloring of badgers includes silver-gray hair on its back with brown and yellow highlights; the belly is white. The feet are black and/or dark brown. A distinctive white stripe down down the nose with black markings on the sides of the face are the trademark colorings of a badger. The animal’s tail is short.

According to the IUCN this species is considered LEAST CONCERN (lowest threat level).
According to the IUCN this species is considered LEAST CONCERN (lowest threat level).

20-30 inches (50-76 cm)

11-25 pounds (4-11 kg)

5-10 years

Least concern

Prefers open areas such as grasslands and usually build their dens on the tops of hills, preferably in soft soil.

Small burrowing mammals like ground squirrel, rats, gophers and mice make up most of the badger’s diet. It digs its prey out of the ground with its strong, sharp claws. The badger will sometimes dig into the burrow of an animal and wait for it to return. Coyotes often will stand by while a badger is burrowing and catch animals that come out of a tunnel trying to escape the badger. The badger also eats snakes, birds and reptiles. It will sometimes bury extra food to eat later.

f-badger-tracks-4leggers-comSIGNS OF PRESENCE:
Due to the fact that badgers often dig their prey out of the ground, the best way to tell if a badger is in the vicinity is to look for fresh excavations of large amounts of dirt piled up, especially near the opening of a rodent hole. Because the badger is wide, a freshly-widened burrow entrance in an elliptical shape is the best indication of a badger. Coyotes will often wait nearby while a badger digs into a rodent hole in the hope of catching escaping prey. Consequently, it is common to find both badger and coyote tracks together, that can indicate cooperative hunting or, at the very least, a coexisting lifestyle that benefits both animals.


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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Dept.

National Park Service

International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Paul Tarwell, “Camping & Wilderness Survival Second Edition” (Lebanon, New Hampshire: Paul Tarwell, 2006).

Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

World Worldlife Federation