||The Badger in Action
Badgers groom themselves
and remove accumulated
debris from their dens.
They sharpen their claws
by constant digging and
deliberately clean each set
of claws by scraping them
against each other.
When faced with danger,
the badger will quickly
assesses the situation and
decide whether it is best to
retreat or to fight. When
necessary, the badger can
fight fiercely with its
powerful jaws and sharp
The badger’s excellent
sense of smell allows it to
gather accurate information
about the presence of other
animals underground. Once
it decides to dig a hole, the
badger can disappear from
view within 90 seconds.
The badger can withstand
attacks in part because its
thick hide is so loosely
attached to its body. A
snapping predator often
ends up with little more than
a mouthful of fur and loose
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The American Badger lives primarily in the grassland areas
of Canada and the western United States, but it appears
to expand its range wherever it finds open areas.
Perception of Surroundings
A badger’s diet consists of mice, gophers, rabbits, moles,
and other small burrowing animals that the badger’s
muscular, low-slung body, keen sense of smell, and
digging claws enable it to catch.
The badger’s body is uniquely equipped to allow quick
adjustments in direction as it sniffs out prey
underground. Besides being remarkable digging
implements, its legs are set so that the badger can run
forward or backward through its winding tunnels. Unlike
animals with hair that lies backward and cannot be
brushed forward without irritation, the badger’s hair can
lie in either direction.
Preparation for the Future
These highly efficient excavators can dig themselves out
of sight within 90 seconds. Unlike many members of the
weasel family, the badger digs its living quarters as deep
as 6 feet. On occasion, badgers have excavated tunnels
as long as 300 feet.
Although the badger is known as a quick animal, it does
not seem to lack foresight and consistency. For example,
it maintains a regular house-cleaning routine. Badgers
maintain regular grooming habits, carefully cleaning dirt
from under their claws and meticulously combing and
washing their fur. They also routinely change the bedding
in their dens, removing the old soiled material and
replacing it with fresh straw or grass.
Female badgers give birth to 1 to 5 young in May or June
and the cubs hunt with their mother until the family
disperses in the fall.
Execution of Decisions
When threatened, a badger instantly sizes up the
situation and determines whether to stand its ground or
retreat. Many times it will back down rather than fight.
Occasionally, it will bluff its adversary until it gains an
opportunity to retreat before an actual conflict.
If a badger decides to fight, however, it does not turn
back. A badger is not afraid to take on an animal several
times larger than itself. A foolish hunter who reaches into
a burrow after a retreating badger may suddenly find a
set of teeth clamped onto his arm and a relentless badger
attempting to pull him into the hole.
A badger’s loose-fitting hide becomes a particular
advantage in battle. Opponents cannot get a good grip
on the badger because its skin and fur stretch away from
its muscular body, preventing an assailant from grabbing
anything vital and giving the badger additional flexibility to
defend itself. With this physical advantage and relentless
persistence, badgers have been known to make short
work of dogs four times their own weight.