Published on February 6, 2013 by Amy
The American badger has a flat body, with short legs and a triangular face with a long, pointed, tipped-up nose. It has long brown or black fur with white stripes on its cheeks and one stripe running from its nose to the back of its head. It has small ears on the side of its head and long, sharp front claws.
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In the United States, the American badger is found from the west coast to Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. It is also found in southern Canada in British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The American Badger prefers open areas like plains and prairies, farmland, and the edges of woods.
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 badgers are burrowing and catch animals that come out of a tunnel trying to escape the badger. Badgers also eat snakes, birds and reptiles. It will sometimes bury extra food to eat later.
The American Badger mates between July and August, but the embryos don’t really start to grow until December or February. The female gives birth in March. She will have between one to five babies. The babies will be weaned by June.
Dens and burrows are a very important part of the badgers life. Badgers usually have lots of different dens and burrows. They use them for sleeping, hunting, storing food, and giving birth. A badger may change dens every day, except when it has babies. Badger dens have one entrance with a pile of dirt next to it. When a badger is threatened, it will often back into a burrow and bare its teeth and claws. It may then plug up the burrow’s entrance.
Badgers are well-protected from predators. Their muscular necks and thick, loose fur protect them when a predator grabs them. This gives them time to turn on the predator and bite and claw it. When a badger is attacked, it also uses vocalizations. It hisses, growls, squeals and snarls. It also puts out an unpleasant musk that may drive a predator away.