Large members of the weasel family, American Badger typically spend most of their time underground, digging and inhabiting intricate burrows. While their burrows may irritate ranchers and farmers, badgers actually benefit people because they consume pesky rodents such as rats and mice.
Scientific & Common Names
The scientific name for the American badger is Taxidea taxus. Most people simply call these animals badgers.
Badgers have short legs and flat bodies. Most of their fur is brown, gray, or reddish, but their undersides are a creamy white color. Badgers' faces have distinctive coloring patterns with black stripes and white throats and chins. Usually, a white dorsal stripe extends from the nose over the back of the head.They have long, narrow, pointed snouts, small rounded ears, and sharp claws.
Badgers typically mate in late summer or early fall. However, the embryo does not develop in the female's body until later in winter. Technically, female badgers are pregnant for seven months, but the embryo does not implant in the uterus or begin development until six weeks before birth. Badger litters are usually one to six babies, with the average litter containing three baby badgers. The babies are usually born in early spring. Female badgers reach puberty around 4 months of age and mate around 1 year of age, but males do not mate until they are about 18 months old.
Badgers love living underground, spending much of their time digging burrows and dens in embankments. They sleep, hunt, store their food, and give birth underground in their networks of dens and tunnels. Badgers can be very aggressive when confronted and threatened. They will hiss, growl, and snarl at the predator. If cornered, they will claw, scratch, and bite at their attacker. They hunt and eat small burrowing animals such as ground squirrels, snakes, rats, and mice.
Badgers have been on the North American continent for centuries. Native Americans used badger fur as decorative trim on their garments. European settlers used badger fur for making shaving brushes and paintbrushes.
Badgers live in the western grasslands and central plains areas of North America.They range from southern Canada down into southern Mexico. They are also found as far east as Ohio and Michigan. They are not considered threatened, but in certain areas, they are labeled as protected to maintain appropriate population levels.