Badger - Taxidea taxus

Badger - Taxidea taxus
Badger - Taxidea taxus
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NPS Photo

Badger could be an expansion of the root word "badge", probably referring to the distinct markings on the head.

Who could resist a face like this? Behind this placid expression is a sturdy, solitary, no-nonsense mammal. The badger's tenacity and extraordinary digging equipment enable it to make a living and to defend itself. This member of the family Mustelidae is rarely seen, being most nocturnal in nature.

Badgers weigh between 12 and 24 pounds and are about 30 inches long.

There is a general belief that nothing of comparable size can overcome a badger. Its ferocity, sharp teeth and strong claws make it a formidable foe. The badger's thick hair and loose skin make an armor too tough for other animals to penetrate. And if worse comes to worst, the badger can run backwards as fast as forward!

The badger uses its claws to dig. It digs to hunt and to eat. Its success is dependent upon the ability to dig FASTER than its prey. It also "digs in" to escape intruders but if attacked, can easily defend itself.

The badger's grass-lined nest is in a chamber two to five feet underground usually at the end of a tunnel up to 30 feet long. Two to five young are born in the spring. Their eyes open within five weeks, and soon they join their mother on hunting trips.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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