American Badgers

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American Badgers (scientific name Taxidea taxus), belong to the Mustelidae family of Carnivores, class Mammalia. They are relatively large furred animals found in some parts of the United States and Canada. Often referred to as digging machines for their ability to dig burrows at a great speed, American Badgers have become the focus of some anecdotic stories. They are featured as animals that easily dig through tough concrete constructions and appear at weird places.

Due to the species' nocturnal way of life, uneven distribution, and low population density, the American Badger remains one of the animals whose habitat, lifestyle, and ecological niche have yet to be studied. However, some research work and projects that have been launched of late have brought fruitful results and given insight on the life of this creature.
 American Badgers - Pictures
Badger Watch And Rescue Dyfed

American Badgers - Description

The American Badger is a relative of the European Badger. However, they differ much in appearance and behavior patterns. The American and the European Badger are close in size, yet most American Badgers seem to be a little smaller. Males are usually bigger than females. An adult North American Badger approximates the length of 21-29 inches (17-26 inches in females), with the tail being about 4-6 inches. American Badgers' weight ranges from 9 to 27 pounds. Considerable differences in size both in American and European Badgers depend on the season and the area of distribution.

American Badgers have short strong legs with five toes on each foot. Long shovel-like claws (about 12 inches) on the front legs enable the American Badger to dig deep holes at an amazing speed. Hind legs have shorter claws. Strong jaws and the row of 34 sharp teeth provide for an easy grasp and tearing of food. American Badgers have loose skin on the body. They are characterized by a short neck, small eyes and ears, and a thick fur.

American Badgers have specific color pattern. Their facial black and white markings are similar to those of the European Badger with the exception of the central white stripe. It is longer and thinner in the American Badger and extends from the tip of the nose to the shoulder area. Black fur is found around the eyes and forms a triangle on the cheeks. Overall, its color ranges from silver-gray to brown and black on different parts of the body. The fur is shorter and thicker on the back, providing for a flattened appearance.

American Badgers - Behavior

Appearance is not the only distinctive feature of the American Badger. They display specific behavior patterns that differ from their European relatives. Unlike the Eurasian Badger, the American Badger is a solitary animal. It is nocturnal, yet may be seen in early hours in the morning or late in the evening. The North American Badger spends most of the time in burrows where it sleeps, searches for prey, stores food, or gives birth to its offspring.
 American Badgers - Pictures
East Hampshire Badger Group

American Badgers - Habitat

American Badgers are found mostly in grasslands, prairies, deserts, and plains. They are reported to reside close to ground squirrels and prairie dogs' habitats. These mammals are considered the main food source for the American Badger. Individual Badgers have been found in mountains at the height of about 10,000 ft (3,000 m) and even more.

In fact, American Badgers rarely reside in the same place for too long. This happens when an animal comes across areas full of prey. Basically, they are always on the move in search of available food. This constant travel makes it particularly hard to keep record of American Badgers and evaluate their density in areas.

American Badgers - Diet

American Badgers feed primarily on small animals, such as ground squirrels, cottontails, kangaroo rats, mice, and other burrowing rodents. They also prey on lizards, birds, their eggs, and insects. It is known that American Badgers use carrion sometimes as food.

Generally, this type of food is available throughout the year. The amounts differ from season to season, though. Thus, American Badgers enjoy prey availability mostly in spring and summer. In the case the hunting sessions turned out to be a success and there is excessive amounts of food, an American Badger will store it in its den to use later. Winter periods are a challenge for the American Badger. The shortage of food makes American Badgers spend lots of time in the burrow to avoid heat loss.

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