American Badger

Taxidea taxus

Big image

physical appearance

American Badgers are stockily built, with blunt digging claws strong enough to uncurl a hedgehog. Full-grown males can grow to be around 19.8 pounds, with the females slightly smaller at approximately 15.5 pounds. Average length is approximately 30 inches. The main body of the badger is mottled gray, except for a black head with white triangles arround the eyes and a stripe down the nose.
Big image

life span

After about 7 weeks of gestation, a mother badger gives birth to 2 or three cubs. The young badgers will stay with their mother for 5 or 6 months before going off on their own. Females gain sexual maturity at anywhere from 4 months to a year, while males are generally not mature until 16 months. In the wild, badgers generally live no longer than 14 years, but captive badgers have been known to live up to 26.

diet

Badgers mainly prey upon small burrow-dwelling mammals such as moles, ground squirrels, or hedgehogs. They may supplement their diet with ground-based birds and reptiles, and if absolutely necessary, the occasional vegetables, seeds, or fungus.

behavior

Badgers are solitary and only come together during breeding season. The rest of the year is spent in an individual set, from which they rarely venture out at daytime. During the winter badgers go into a torpor, sleeping around 29 hours at a time. Badgers have a symbiotic relationship with coyotes; each hunts the same prey in a different setting, leaving no place for the prey to hide. Inevitably, someone eats.

habitat

American badgers live all across the United States, except for the far Northwest and a good portion of the Southeast. They also live in most of Mexico and some of Canada. Their favorite habitat is grassland, but they have been known to adapt to various other settings. Because of their territorial nature, badgers tend to live in areas with a population no more dense than one badger per square mile, limiting the number of badgers that can thrive in a particular area.