American Badger

The single species of Taxidea is the only New World badger. It has a rather flattened body shape, but is otherwise similar to other badgers. Unlike its European relative, this badger lives on its own, although the territory of a male is likely to encompass that of several females.

American badgers are tough animals that live in the North America. They are expert burrowers and use this skill to dig out their preferred foods - rodents. They rest in their own burrows during the day and emerge to feed at night. During the coldest weeks of the year, American badgers do not hibernate, but they sleep underground for several days. In northern parts of its range and at high altitudes, the American badger sleeps for much of the winter, surviving on its stored fat. However, it does not truly hibernate and becomes active in mild spells.

American badgers have a white stripe running from the nose along the back. In northern badgers the stripe runs to the shoulders, while on those in the south of the range it runs all the way along the back.

The badgers may bury some of their food so that they can eat it later, or even dig holes big enough for both themselves and their prey to fit into. American badgers and coyotes are known to hunt together in teams. The coyotes sniff out the buried prey and the badgers dig them out. Both parties then share the food.

Individuals usually move regularly between the different dens in their territory, although a female will stay in one den with her offspring. American badgers are able to defend themselves well, not just physically but also by releasing an unpleasant musky scent. They favour open countryside, even occurring in farmland areas.

Mating occurs in summer and early autumn, and births take place in the following spring. The young leave home after two months.

Distribution: Occurs in S. Canada, Manitoba and Alberta down the US coast to Texas.

Habitat: Dry, open country.

Weight: 4 - 12 kg (9 - 26 lb); males are heavier.

Length: 52 - 88 cm  (20 - 35 in).

Maturity: Females 4 months; males 2 years.

Gestation Period: 42 days; embryonic development starts about 6 months after mating.

Breeding: 1 - 5, but averages 3; weaning occurs at 12 weeks.

Food: Carnivorous, hunting small animals, insects and ground-nesting birds; also eats some plant matter.

Lifespan: 4 - 14 years in the wild; up to 26 in captivity.

Status: Lower risk.


The tail is short and stocky but well-furred.


Silvery-brown over much of the body, with a white stripe extending back over the shoulders from the nose.


American badgers are able to escape the worst of the harsh winter weather by remaining below ground in their dens.

The entrance to the badger's den may not be hidden in vegetation.