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What is an American Badger (Taxidea taxus)

What is an American Badger

Oh my… look at that face!

Badger Overview

As of date, I have yet to see a badger in the wild during my explorations of the Southwest… maybe one day.

Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the families Mustelidae (which also includes the otters, polecats, weasels, and ferrets), and Mephitidae (which also includes the skunks).

Badgers have rather short, widebodies, with short legs for digging.

They have elongated, weasel-like heads with small ears.

Their tails vary in length depending on species; the stink badger has a very short tail, while the ferret badger’s tail can be 46–51 cm (18–20 in) long, depending on age.


American Badger – Taxidea taxus

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Mustelidae
  • Subfamily: Taxidiinae
  • Genus: Taxidea
  • Species: T. taxus

Subspecies of T. taxus

  1. T. t. taxus (the nominate subspecies) – central Canada and the central U.S.
  2. T. t. jacksoni – southern Great Lakes region, including southern Ontario
  3. T. t. jeffersoni – Alberta and the western U.S.
  4. T. t. berlandieri – southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.

Size and Body Description

Broad, heavy build and short, bowed legs give the flattish appearance.

Shaggy coat, grizzled gray to brown in color.

White stripe from shoulder to pointed, slightly upturned snout.

Tail short, bushy, yellowish color.

Cheeks white with a black patch.

Ears small.

Feet dark, armed with stout claws up to 1.5 inches (4 cm) long.


20 to 34 inches (52 to 87 cm) long, weight 15 to 30 pounds (7.5 to 15 kg).


Small rodents, ground-dwelling birds, and their eggs.



Once common in the West from southern California to central Mexico, exterminated over a large part of the range because its burrows are a danger to the legs of horses and cattle.

Where Found

Found in all life zones, but most numerous in deep soils of desert valleys.

How Long Do Badgers Live

In the wild, the average lifespan is between 4 and 10 years, but some badgers may live up to 14 years. In captivity, badgers have been reported to live to be 26 years old.

References Used

What is an American Badger


A shy member of the weasel family with same powerful tools they all have: long claws, sharp teeth, loose skin, strong scent glands.

Very courageous fighter, especially if concerned.

Excellent for rodent control; coyote sometimes teams up with badger in dispatching rodents from burrows the badger has found and dug out.


Mostly nocturnal, but occasionally seen in mid-day.

Avoids humans; seldom seen.