Badgers are unexcelled excavators

By Dave Hanks
5-12-2006

We have a Badger in our yard! I donít know how it got here. I donít know why! But looking down, while crossing our corral fence, there it was, face to face with me. It had burrowed a nice big hole under the concrete of the cattle manger. It couldnít have selected a more protected spot to dig a den.

The claws on a Badger are formidable. There are five on each foot and they are very impressive. Itís no wonder that they are such master burrowers. They have a flattened shaped body of 2 to 3 feet long. The short tail doesnít get in the way of digging, or get encrusted from the dirt that the Badger is constantly working in. Badgers are nocturnal and are rarely seen in daylight. They may not even emerge from the den in bright moonlight. Their burrows are recognizable by their square-shaped openings.

They will run from an encounter; but, if cornered, can be extremely aggressive. Their teeth are as formidable as their claws. Skunks, weasels, otters, wolverines, and badgers are classified as mustelids Ė species that give off scent. They are carnivores that prefer soft foods like baby rabbits, mice, voles, snails, beetles, and even fungi and wind-fallen fruits.

One to five young are born in the burrow. This is usually in March. They donít emerge until 6 to 8 weeks old and stay with their parents until October. Badger tracks differ from dogs in that 5 toe prints show instead of 4. They are very capable of defending themselves and have little to fear.

I was lucky to get this oneís photo as it was excavating a burrow under our manger.


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