American badger

(Taxidea taxus)

Conservation Status
American badger
Photo by Wayne Rasmussen
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Species in Greatest Conservation Need


American badger is a solitary, medium-sized, common but seldom seen, carnivorous mammal. They are 28 to 34 in length, including the tail, and weigh 11½ to 24¾ pounds. Males are significantly larger than females. Badgers rarely live more than 4 or 5 years in the wild, but may live 10 years or more in captivity.

The body is stocky, low to the ground, and somewhat flattened. The fur (pelage) on the upper parts is yellowish-gray to reddish-brown and long, especially long at the sides. The longer hairs (guard hairs) are banded, giving the pelage a grizzled appearance. A bold, white, upper-middle (middorsal) stripe runs from the nose, over the top of its head, and ends on the nape of the neck near the shoulders. It does not extend onto the back. The underparts are buffy. The belly is whitish. The tail is short, 4¼ to 7½ long, and bushy.

The head is broad, especially at the back. The neck, crown, and nose are dark brown or black. The cheeks are white with a large black spot in front of each ear. The chin and throat are whitish. The ears are low and are edged with white.

The legs are short and stocky. The feet are dark brown or black. The claws on the front feet are extremely long.

Common badger (Taxidea taxus taxus) is the largest of the four subspecies.

Jackson’s badger (Taxidea taxus jacksoni) is typically darker and smaller, 23½to 29½ in length and weighing 15½ to 24¼ pounds.




Total length: 28 to 34

Tail: 4¼ to 7½

Weight: 11½ to 24¾ pounds






Similar Species

  The low, flattish profile and white middorsal head stripe are diagnostic. There are no similar species in North America.  

Badgers are animals of open places, including meadows, prairies, pastures, croplands, and brushlands with little or no ground cover. Their spread into forested regions has closely followed the clearing of those forests to create pastures and cropland.




Badgers are active mostly at night but also often during the day, especially in early morning. They are solitary animals.

Badgers are good diggers. They are the only mammal that can dig out pocket gophers. They usually dig their own burrow but may enlarge one dug by another mammal. They spend the day, raise their young, and spend the winter in a burrow. The burrow may be up to 26 long and up to 6¾ deep.

Adults have a home range of usually about 1 square mile in which they may have up to 46 burrows. In the winter their home range is much smaller. They are mostly inactive in winter, emerging occasionally on warmer days. They do not hibernate but may enter into a temporary state of reduced metabolic activity (torpor) lasting several days to several weeks.




4 to 5 years


Life Cycle


Mating takes place in August and September. The female then digs a nest at the end of its burrow and lines it with grass. The developing fertilized eggs (blastocysts) do not implant in the uterus until February or March. A litter of 1 to 7, usually 3 or 4, is born in March to early April. The female cares for the young until late summer or early fall.




Mostly ground squirrels and pocket gophers, but also voles, mice, reptiles (including rattlesnakes), amphibians, ground-nesting birds and their eggs, insects, and other invertebrates.


Distribution Map



4, 24, 29, 30, 76.

Common badger (Taxidea taxus taxus) range includes Iowa and the Dakotas and extends into the western border counties of Minnesota.

Jackson’s badger (Taxidea taxus jacksoni) range includes Wisconsin and the remainder of Minnesota.




Fairly common

  Class Mammalia (mammals)  
  Subclass Theria  
  Infraclass Eutheria (placental mammals)  
  Magnorder Boreoeutheria  
  Superorder Laurasiatheria (ungulates, carnivorans, and allies)  
  Order Carnivora (carnivorans)  
  Suborder Caniformia (caniform carnivores)  


Mustelidae (weasel, mink, badger, martens and others)  


Taxidiinae (American badgers)  


Taxidea (American badgers)  

Subordinate Taxa


Widely recognized subspecies

British Columbia’s badger (Taxidea taxus jeffersonii)

common badger (Taxidea taxus taxus)

Jackson’s badger (Taxidea taxus jacksoni)

Texas badger (Taxidea taxus berlandieri)


Questionable subspecies

American badger (Taxidea taxus apache)

American badger (Taxidea taxus californica)

American badger (Taxidea taxus halli)

American badger (Taxidea taxus hallorani)

coast badger (Taxidea taxus littoralis)

Colorado badger (Taxidea taxus phippsi)

Dakota badger (Taxidea taxus dacotensis)

Iowa badger (Taxidea taxus iowae)

Kansas badger (Taxidea taxus kansensis)

lower California badger (Taxidea taxus infusca)

Maryland badger (Taxidea taxus marylandica)

Merriam’s badger (Taxidea taxus merriami)

Montana badger (Taxidea taxus montanus)

Nevada badger (Taxidea taxus nevadensis)

Papago Spring badger (Taxidea taxus papagoensis)

Sonoran badger (Taxidea taxus sonoriensis)

western badger (Taxidea taxus neglecta)




There are four, fifteen, or twenty-one subspecies of badger in North America, depending on who you ask. All sources recognize the two subspecies found in Minnesota, common badger (Taxidea taxus taxus) and Jackson’s badger (Taxidea taxus jacksoni).






Common Names


American badger



The common name is thought to refer to the black “badge”-shaped markings on their cheeks.









Guard hair

A long, straight, coarse hair that projects beyond and lays over ground hairs; the two hair types, sometimes also with awn hairs, comprise the pelage in fur-bearing animals.



The coat of a mammal, consisting of fur, wool, or hair, and including a soft undercoat and stiff guard hairs.




Visitor Photos

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Kirk Nelson


Very early in the morning, we saw the badger’s eyes reflected in the headlights, then as we got closer saw its head just above its hole. We watched it for a bit, and then it withdrew into its hole. I went back later to take some photos, but I didn’t see it again.

  American badger  

Wayne Rasmussen

    American badger      






Copyright DianesDigitals

Joshua Mayer
  American badger facts

Published on Jan 27, 2013




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  The Badger Whisperer - Face to Face with the American Badger!
Brave Wilderness

Published on Nov 25, 2014


The Internet has made the Honey Badger a true celebrity but in the wake of its stardom North America's Badger has gone a bit unnoticed...until now! This week Coyote Peterson and the crew are headed into the back country of Montana to work with Moxie, an American Badger who was abandoned as a cub and raised in captivity to be an ambassador for her species. These mustelids, or members of the weasel family, are well known for their feisty attitudes and aggressive will Coyote be able to befriend this badger? This is an episode you have to see to believe!

Breaking Trail leaves the map behind and follows adventurer and animal enthusiast Coyote Peterson and his crew as they explore a variety of wildlife in the most amazing environments throughout North America!

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  The American Badger

Published on Jun 13, 2013

A look at the American Badger.

  American Badger
Becky Ashcraft

Uploaded on Jan 26, 2010

American Badger. This is a badger that made his home under our house. Savage BADGER, I think not. He stuck around for about 4 months or so. Befriended our Pug Odin. And eventually moved on. Never aggressive, never bit or in any other way harmed us. A couple times he followed me out to our clothes line and stole some towels off the line, but other than that completely harmless. Still, he was a wild animal. We named him Schnitzel. American Badger.

Soar No More Station

Published on Nov 14, 2010

Watch Neal Hunt and the Soar No More Crew as they catch a wild badger with gloved hands, a sheet, and a dog kennel. Most amazing badger films caught on tape!

The badger was digging holes in a farmers field, which is dangerous to the farmer, and his equipment. The badger was relocated to avoid potential harm to the farmer, and the animal.

The music is called "Chase Pulse" by Kevin MacLeod.

To see Neal take on rattlesnakes, click here:

  Summer of the Badger
Wild Kingdom

Uploaded on Apr 5, 2009

Set in the scenic country of the American west, this story follows two badger cubs from their birth in a prairie den.




Visitor Sightings

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  Sandy Dirks

Location: 816 Hickory Lane Mantorville

I spotted a badger in my back yard. It seems to living under my shed. I’m concerned for my small child and dog.

  Kimberly Kosek

Location: McLeod County, lat 44.968831 ;  Lon -94.255861

2 large badgers seen around 8:45pm on gravel road. They both Ran into bean field when we drove up to them.
This is the second time I have seen 2 badgers in McLeod County ever. Both sightings were within the last 2-3weeks and were about 5miles apart.


Location: Grand Portage, MN

Walking along the fence line around 2 am.

  Rich Caruso
5/11 to 5/13/2020

Location: Big Lake Township, Sherburne County

Trying to get a picture of it, but for the last two nights have had a large badger tearing into a pile of split wood waiting to be stacked, and scattering the wood everywhere. It's a very large pile of split wood and it's out by our polebarn, about 300 ft from the house, so by the time I get close enough, it's gone. This is occuring around 1-2 AM, so difficult getting a good sighting of it. Have many chipmunks bedded down in that wood pile, I'm sure that's what it's after.


Location: Big Lake Township, Sherburne County

I saw a dead badger on highway 95 between North Branch and Cambridge at 7:30am on Sept 20th. It was gone by the time I came back through at 5pm.

  Kirk Nelson

Location: Winona County

Very early in the morning, we saw the badger’s eyes reflected in the headlights, then as we got closer saw its head just above its hole. We watched it for a bit, and then it withdrew into its hole. I went back later to take some photos, but I didn’t see it again.

American badger  
  Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Oxbow Co Park & Zoo, Olmstead County

American badger  






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