Nevada, CA Badger

Identification

American Badgers have a triangular face with a distinctive black and white pattern and a stocky body covered with shaggy grizzled fur. They have short powerful legs with long sharp claws on the front paws and shorter claws on the back paws. They have a short, thick neck, short legs, and a short, bushy tail. Its front legs are stout and muscular, and its front claws are long. It is silver-gray, has long guard hairs, a black patch on each cheek, black feet, and a characteristic white stripe extending from its nose over the top of its head. The length of this stripe down the back varies. Badgers may weigh up to 30 pounds (13.5 kg), but average about 19 pounds (8.6 kg) for males and 14 pounds (6.3 kg) for females. Eyeshine at night is green.

 

Range and Habitat

The badger is widely distributed in the contiguous United States. Its range extends southward from the Great Lakes states to the Ohio Valley and westward through the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast, though not west of the Cascade mountain range in the Northwest. Badgers are found at elevations of up to 12,000 feet (3,600 m).

Badgers prefer open country with light to moderate cover, such as pastures and rangelands inhabited by burrowing rodents. They are seldom found in areas that have many trees.

 

Fun Facts

Badgers are members of the weasel family and have the musky odor characteristic of this family.

They are especially adapted for burrowing, with strong front legs equipped with long, well-developed claws.

Badgers are active at night, remaining in dens during daylight hours, but are often seen at dawn or dusk.

 

Damage Identification

Most damage caused by badgers results from their digging in pursuit of prey. Open burrows create a hazard to livestock and horseback riders. Badger diggings in crop fields may slow harvesting or cause damage to machinery. Digging can also damage earthen dams or dikes and irrigation canals, resulting in flooding and the loss of irrigation water. Diggings on the shoulders of roads can lead to erosion and the collapse of road surfaces.

 

Legal Status

In some states, badgers are classified as furbearers and protected by regulated trapping seasons, while in other states they receive no legal protection. Contact your state wildlife agency before conducting lethal control of badgers.

 

Damage Prevention and Control Methods

Exclusion
Generally not practical.

Habitat Modification
Controlling rodent populations may make habitats less suitable for badgers.

Frightening

Bright lights.

Repellents
None are registered.

Toxicants

None are registered.

Fumigants

None are registered.

Trapping
Steel leghold traps. Live traps.

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The above information was adapted from PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF WILDLIFE DAMAGE with permission of the editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, and Gary E. Larson (Cooperative Extension Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Damage Control, Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee).

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Nevada Wildlife Services

For your local Wildlife Control Expert, call 1-800-CRITTER.