The badger is a member of the family of animals that also contains the weasel, however it looks less than nothing like its cousins.
A badger is a stocky animal with a shaggy coat, which is a rather tweedy grey and white, containing elements of brown.
It’s nose holds a stripe that runs to the shoulder and is white or off white in color.
They have a short bushy tail that is a yellow brown in color, smallish rounded ears and a long uptilted nose.
Male badgers are a great deal larger than the females, and may be 3 feet in length and weigh upwards of 20 pounds. The female will usually weigh between 7 and fifteen pounds.
Badgers are solitary animals and not a great deal has been studied of them with any frequency.
One study which was done in the early 90’s has shown us that badgers are lessening in numbers, with Canada’s number projected to be between 400 and 1000.
There has been some effort to ascertain whether or not the badgers are in any danger of extinction, however knowing very little about them, including their need for various types of habitat makes it difficult to find a conservation program that will be in any way effective.
Badgers like open areas best, such as farm fields, and woodland areas, along the edges of treelines.
They range throughout most of northern United States as well as areas of Canada. Badgers normally have 3-5 little ones which are born in either March or April. They are born, as many others of the same family, both deaf and blind, completely dependent upon the mother.
Badgers normally eat squirrels, gophers, and mice, as well as some rats. They catch these pretty by digging them out from their burrows or tunnels. They do however also eat larger, more dangerous prey. Birds, carrion and even rattlesnakes are victims of the badger.
Apparently they are not injured by the venom unless the snake makes a lucky strike and hits the nose, which is probably due to their thicker skin and shaggy coat. Badgers are notorious in their ferocity, and will combat animals several times their size, and win.
They actually do not have many natural enemies or animals which prey on them other than man, who has in some cases poisoned and eradicated them in certain areas.
In the past they were prized for the use of their coat, which was used primarily to make brushes such as paint brushes and shaving brushes. Due to the coarse qualities of the hair and because it is nearly indestructible, it was greatly valued for brush material.
The badger is being reduced in numbers because of deforestation and loss of grassland habitats that can sustain it.
This is not in the best interest of man since the badger is an animal which can and does play a vital role in controlling the population of pest animals such as rats, mice and other rodents.