AMERICAN BADGER (Taxidea taxus)




What is the difference between American and European badgers?

There are 11 species of badgers across the world. They are part of the Mustelid family which includes otters, ferrets, wolverine, and pine martens. American badgers are smaller than their European relatives. American badgers are also solitary animals and mostly carnivorous, whereas European badgers are social animals who are omnivorous. Both species of badgers live in underground burrows, which is also where they give birth.


What is torpor?

        Torpor is similar to hibernation; in that it helps an animal preserve energy and resources during a difficult winter. Badgers will start to consume more food to add a large amount of fat reserves before the cold winter months. This allows them to remain mostly in their burrows with reduced metabolism and body temperature. This dramatically cuts down on the amount of food needed to survive.


Where do American badgers live?

        American badgers can be found across the United States and Canada, and into Northern Mexico. American badgers are the only species of badger found in North or South America. They live in underground burrows, typically in grasslands. Each badger will have an extensive network of tunnels across their territory.

As they are solitary animals, they live alone unless they are caring for their young. Female badgers will bring grasses and other nesting materials into their burrow before they give birth to keep their young warm after birth. They typically give birth in April or May and the young badgers will stay in the safety of the burrow for about 6 weeks before starting to venture out. They will learn how to hunt from their mother before moving on and finding their own territory.


What do American badgers eat?

        American badgers are carnivores and will mostly eat burrowing animals such as voles and prairie dogs. They are excellent diggers so they will hunt and catch animals hiding in their burrows or nests. They will also eat snakes, lizards, birds, and eggs.


Are American badgers endangered?

        American badgers are considered of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. However, their numbers have been declining over time and this is mostly due to habitat loss. Badgers are an important part of the ecosystem as they are excellent at keeping rodent and snake populations in control.