Field Guide/Mammals/American Badger

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Taxidea taxus (American Badger)
Family: Mustelidae
Size: Total length: 24-29 Inches (600-730 mm)

Tail length: 4-5 Inches (105-135 mm)

Weight: 20-26 lbs (9-12 kg)[1]
Description: Stocky with low-slung bodies. Huge fore claws with short, powerful legs for digging. Silvery coat with coarse fur. A distinctive black and white pattern on their face with brown or blackish ‘badges’ that mark their cheeks. A white stripe extends from the nose to the base of their head and sometimes the length of their body. [1]
Similar Species: The American Badger has a distinctive black and white pattern on its face with brown or blackish ‘badges’ that mark their cheeks. [1]

Range: The badger is found throughout northern, western, and central United States as well as British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and southern Ontario. They are found as far east as Ohio and parts of New York and well into southern Mexico.[2] They live in altitudes from 12,000 feet above sea level to slightly below sea level. [3]
Habitat: Prefers open areas and is found in brushlands with little to no ground cover. They stay in underground burrows when they are inactive. Badgers are most commonly found in relatively dry grasslands and open forests. They prefer soil with a high level of sand for ease of digging. Their home ranges vary from 2-725 hectacres depending on the season. [2]
Diet: The badger is an opportunistic feeder. They are omnivorous, but feed primarily on small rodents such as: ground squirrels, pocket gophers, prairie dogs, and mice. They may also eat scorpions, insects, snakes, lizards, birds, and plant depending on where they are located and what animal populations are present. [2] [4]
Activity: The badger can be active at any hour, but is primarily nocturnal. During the winter the badger is not as active and may enter temporary hibernation, or torpor, for several days or weeks in its den during severe conditions. [4]

Reproduction: American badgers mate in the summer and fall. Fertilization occurs at that time, but embryos remain in a dormant state for several weeks. Embryos implant during the winter between December and February. After a 6 week gestation period, females give birth to 1-6 cubs that are furred and blind. The cubs will remain in the burrow for several weeks and usually venture out on their own toward the end of summer. [1]
Lifespan: It is rare for this species to live longer than 4–5 years, although it has been reported that some individuals have lived 14–15 years. [4]

Notes: Badgers in northern ranges tend to be larger than southern ranges [1]
American Badger

  1. a b c d e Long, Charles (1972), "Taxonomic Revision of the North American Badger, Taxidea taxus", Journal of Mammalogy, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1379211, retrieved October 5, 2012 
  2. a b c Reid, F; helgen, K (1973), "Taxidea taxus", IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/41663/0, retrieved October 4, 2012 
  3. Long, Charles (1973), "Mammalian Species, Taxidea taxus", The American Society of Mammalogits, http://www.science.smith.edu/msi/, retrieved October 4, 2012 
  4. a b c Scobie, Dave (2002), 20of%20American%20Badger%20in%20Alberta_2002.pdf "Wildlife Status Report No. 43", Alberta Conservation Association, http://www.ab-conservation.com/go/default/assets/File/Programs/AWSR/Mammal%20Reports/Status% 20of%20American%20Badger%20in%20Alberta_2002.pdf, retrieved October 5, 2012