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Badger picture and information (Taxidea taxus)

Badger picture and information (Taxidea taxus)The favorite home of the badger is on grassy, brush-grown plains, where there is an abundance of mice, pocket gophers, ground-squirrels; prairie-dogs, or other small mammals. There it wanders far and wide at night searching for the burrows of the small rodents, which are its chief prey.

When its acute sense of smell announces that a burrow is occupied, it sets to work with sharp claws and powerful fore legs and digs down to the terrified inmate in an amazingly short time.

The trail of a badger for a single night is often marked by hole after hole, each with a mound of fresh earth containing the tracks of the marauder. As a consequence, if several of these animals are in the neighborhood, their burrows, 6 or 8 inches in diameter, soon become so numerous that it is dangerous to ride rapidly through their haunts on horseback.

Although a member of the weasel family, the badger is so slow-footed that when it is occasionally found abroad by day a man on foot can easily overtake it. When brought to bay, it charges man or dog and fights with such vicious power and desperation that nothing of its own size can overcome it. It appears to have a morose and savage nature, lacking the spice of vivacity or playfulness which appears in many of its relatives.

Although commonly found living by itself in a den, it is often found moving about by day in pairs, indicating the probability that it may mate permanently. In the northern part of its range it hibernates during winter, but in the south remains active throughout the year. Its shy and retiring character is evidenced by the little information we have concerning its family life. The badger is so destructive to rodents that its services are of great value to the farmer.

Regardless of this, where encountered it is almost invariably killed. As a consequence, the increasing occupation of its territory must result in its steady decrease in numbers and final extermination.

The American badger is a close relative of the well-known badger occupying the British Isles and other northern parts of the Old World. It is a low, broad, short-legged, powerfully built animal of such wide distribution that it has developed several geographic races. Its range originally extended from about 58 degrees of latitude, on the Peace River, in Canada, south to the plains of Puebla, on the southern end of the Mexican table-land, and from Michigan, Kansas, and Texas west to the Pacific coast. It has now become extinct over much of this area and is everywhere greatly reduced in numbers.

It appears to thrive equally well on the plains of Alberta, in the open pine forests of the Sierra Nevada in California, and on the dry tropical lowlands at the southern end of the Peninsula of Lower California.