The fierce nature of the American Badger
The American badger (Taxidea taxus) looks cute and cuddly, but it is fiercely territorial and temperamental. It is a member of the Mustelidae, a diverse family of carnivorous mammals that also includes weasels, otters, ferrets, and the wolverine.
The badger is well-protected from predators. Its muscular neck and thick, loose fur protect it when it is captured by a Predator. This gives the badger time to turn on the predator and bite and claw it. When a badger is attacked, it also uses vocalizations. It hisses, growls, squeals and snarls. It also releases an unpleasant musk that may drive a predator away.
When a badger is threatened, it will often back into a burrow and bare its teeth and claws. It may then plug up the burrow’s entrance.
The American badger is a Fossorial Carnivore. This means it lives mainly underground, digging dens or burrows.
Its main Prey include small burrowing mammals like ground squirrel, rats, gophers and mice.
Its preferred means of attack is to dig its prey out of the ground with its strong, sharp claws. When the prey is not home, the badger will sometimes dig into the burrow and wait for it to return. The perfect ambush predator!
Badgers are also known to cooperate with coyotes to help catch prey.
The American badger is one of 11 different species of badgers, found across the world.
There are four (4) known subspecies of the American badger, with those found in Mexico known as the tlalcoyote.
The natural range of the American badger stretches from Mexico, over much of the United States, into the southern parts of Canada.
Badgers prefer to live in dry, open grasslands, fields, and pastures. They are found from high alpine meadows to sea level.
It is 23 cm (9 inches) tall and 42–76 cm long, excluding the 10–16-cm tail, and it weighs 4–12 kg (9–26 pounds).
Badgers have lived to be 26 years old in captivity. The average lifespan in the wild has been estimated to be between 4 and 10 years.
American badgers help maintain the numbers of smaller mammals and rodents in an Ecosystem. Many of the species that they eat live underground and are difficult to catch. The badger controls the numbers, which if left unchecked, could devastate vegetation.
In addition, their burrows provide shelter for small game mammals, like cottontail rabbits.
Image Source: activewild.com
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