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American Badger for Kids

Used with permission from Yathin: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yathin/2063506731/

The American Badger is a member of the Mustelidae family, which also includes ferret, weasels, and wolverines. Badgers are easily recognized and can reach lengths of 23-30 inches and weigh between 15 and 25 pounds. Badgers are stocky animals, powerfully built with short legs and gigantic claws. The coat is silvery or light brown and the feet are black. The face is triangular with a black and white series of stripes with brown or black “badges” covering the face. A central white stripe bisects the entire body and terminates at the snout. The tail is short.

Diet: The badger is a carnivorous mammal that feeds on a variety of different prey including chipmunks, ground squirrels, mice, birds, snakes, and insects. Badgers are accomplished diggers and often kill prey hiding in the dirt. Coyotes often benefit from following badgers. As the badger digs, the coyote will often catch small animals trying to flee.

Habitat: Most common in grassland or prairie habitats. It is also quite common in deserts.

Range: The Range of the American Badger extends from the west coast east through the Great Plains to western Ohio. The badger is generally absent from the deep south, but is common in Texas and Oklahoma and the desert southwest. Populations also occur in the prairie regions of Canada.

Behavior: The mostly nocturnal American Badger is a natural digger. It digs multiple burrows to sleep in, rest, hunt, store food, and give birth. When threatened, the badger may retreat to its burrow, bear its teeth and claws and plug the entrance. Badgers also have the ability to release an unpleasant-smelling musk when threatened.

Reproduction: Female badgers give birth to 1-5 baby badgers in May. Within one month, they are weaned and ready to explore the world on their own.

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