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American badger near den.

American Badger (Taxidea taxus)

The American Badger (Taxidea taxus) is a mammal in the Mustelinae subfamily, which includes the Eurasian badger, wolverines, weasels, martens, ferrets, and minks. Badgers are primarily found in North America and their range now extends to Ontario, Canada. According to the literature, they are distributed irregularly throughout Wisconsin and tend to be more abundant in northern and western counties and less common in counties adjacent to Lake Michigan. However, badgers are seen occasionally in Brown and other counties, often in close contact with humans, including a recent siting by UWGB Chancellor Bruce Shepard, near his home in the city of Green Bay.

Badgers prefer grasslands, sandy fields, and pastures but they can also be seen in woodlands and hill bases that provide habitat for their prey and contain sandy soils that are easy to dig burrows. You are most likely to see them in the summer when they are moving through their territorial ranges. These territories are often ten square miles and researchers have found that badgers move as much as 3 miles in a day, building a new burrow each night as they search for food. If you are really lucky, you might see one spread out in a water puddle on an excessively hot day, like we have been having lately.. Even though badgers do not hibernate, you are much less likely to see one in winter because they tend to remain in a single burrow for long periods.

Their diet includes ground squirrels, woodchucks, rabbits, mice, insects, birds, snakes, and even plants. They have a well developed sense of smell and excellent hearing in order to locate and capture their prey. They are beneficial to humans because they effectively control rodent pests that would otherwise damage corn and other crops.

Badgers resemble medium-sized dogs with short necks, blackish face with a white cheek mark, and a white stripe that extends from the nose to the shoulders. Their ears are round and their eyes are small. They have a short, bushy tails, and short, black, massive feet with claws. Their hair is elastic, shaggy, with short bristles that grow longer in the winter. Young badgers are darker but as they age, their hair turns a frosty coloration. In general, badgers are around 28-31 inches height and they weight 14 to 26 pounds although males tend to be larger that females for about 5 percent.

More Information on the American Badger:

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Last updated on May 9, 2014