Have you ever seen an American badger?
He is not so easy to see.
He likes to move about at night.
The American badger is a furry fellow, but not always good company.
His night habits and love of burrows make him a difficult animal to get to know.
Where they are found
The American badger loves to live on grassy plains.
That’s where he can find his favorite food and dig lots of burrows.
The American badger is found on the great plains of North America.
They are also found through Western Canada and right down to the south in the mountainous regions of Mexico.
This is quite a wide distribution area.
What do they look like?
The American badger is covered in brown fur with some white markings.
He is a short legged, strong animal. The American badger’s tail is short, but his claws are very long. American badger weighs between four and twelve Kilograms.
His fur is a light brownish color on his chest and greyish on his back. He has a white stripe that runs from his nose over his head and down his back.
Where do they live?
The American badger is a nocturnal animal and lives in a burrow he digs in the ground.
He uses his strong front claws to dig out the burrow and his back legs to push the sand away.
The American Badger mainly likes to eat meat and is good at catching small rodents, like rats and squirrels.
He will also eat insects and birds.
The female American badger prepares a grassy place in the burrow to have her babies.
The babies are born with very little hair and they can not see.
The babies are called cubs. They open their eyes at about 4 – 6 weeks.
The mother American badger makes a nest for the family underground. A badger’s nest is called a sett.
Badgers are excellent diggers. Their claws are as strong as steel.
They have a special third eyelid that protects their eyes from bits of soil. The American badger also has thick hairs in it nose and ears.
These hairs protect their nose and ears from dirt as well.
The badger and the coyote have a hunting arrangement.
They hunt near each other, but they don’t share the prey. The coyote is above the ground and the badger below.
If the creature they are hunting comes above ground the coyote catches it, if it runs underground then it belongs to the badger.
Together they hunt for small animals on the grassy plains.
Predators and dangers
Badgers are hunted by big predators like the mountain lion and wolves.
When the badger is chased by an enemy it can dig backwards into a burrow.
It sticks its head out and it hisses and snarls at the enemy.
The American badger is brave and fierce.
If it is caught by another animal it has loose skin round its neck and can turn on a predator and bite them back.
Contribution to nature
The American badger digs burrows that help aerate the soil to improve plant growing conditions.
They help to keep the rodent population under control too.
American Badger Facts for Kids
- The name badger comes from a French word ‘becheur’ meaning digger.
- They are very clean animals and when they dig their burrow they have a separate area for the bathroom. This is so they do not mess in their bedrooms.
- The American badger is a fierce hunter and catches small rodents in its strong claws
- They have a very good sense of sight.
- The American badger is omnivorous. He eats meat and plants as well.
- Badgers are active in winter but have times of torpor when they relax completely.
Torpor: is a time when the badger rests his body and his mind. He seems to be asleep but he is not. Torpor slows down the body temperature and lets the badger save energy.
Nocturnal: the badger is more active at night.
Aerate: is bringing more air into the soil through the digging of tunnels underground.
What did you Learn?
- What do American badgers like to eat most?
American badgers like to eat rodents.
- What kind of home does the American badger live in?
The American badger digs a burrow and lines it with grass and leaves to make it a comfortable home.
- How does the badger use less energy in winter?
In winter the American badger goes into a special kind of sleep called torpor.
- The American badger is very good at digging burrows. What makes him a very good digger?
The American badger is a good digger because of his sharp claws. He also has protective eyelids and hairs in his ears and nose to keep sand out.
- Why do American badgers do well on prairie grasslands?
The American badger lives on the grasslands because it is a place where he can dig burrowsand find all the food he needs.
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