American Badger (Taxidea taxus)

Size: 


2-3 feet. 24-30 pounds 


Signs of their presence: 


The animal itself 


Sounds: A badger can make up to 16 different noises. Mainly one may here growls, hiss, chirps, and clucks 


Odor: Badgers release a musky odor similar to the skunk 


Scat: often found in shallow pits, they use as latrines, they are firm and around the size of a sausage. Depending on their diet, sometimes it can be darker and slimier if more earthworms have been consumed 


Diet: 


Opportunists. They mainly will eat ground-nesting birds and the eggs, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, worms, and insects. They often eat small rodents such as prairie dogs, pocket gophers, and ground squirrels.  


Typical activity patterns: 


Social Style: solitary 


Daily activity: Nocturnal. Badgers will usually stay in their burrows during the day 


Hibernator? No 


Migrates? No 


Where found: 


In Nebraska badgers can be found throughout the state. They are rarely found in heavily wooded areas, southeastern region. They are more abundant in central Kansas where more open land is available.  


Habitat: 


Open grasslands or meadows on the edge of woodlands.  


Territory and home range: 


Badgers are territorial and will charge intruders that enter their territory. Males home ranges are around 2.5 square miles 


Breeding habits: 


Pair bonding style: Male badgers are polygamous 


Breeding dates: August through September. Gestation is around 250 days 


Litter size: 2-3 young of average. Sometimes up to 5 young 


Birthing period: April or May 


Weaning dates: 5-6 weeks 


Amount of time young remain with parents beyond weaning date: young will remain with the mother until around midsummer 


Common nuisance situations: 


Time of year: any time of year excluding winter 


What are they doing? 


Digging in lawns, pastures, crop fields, gold courses, gardens, or flower beds for worms 


Badgers will sometimes kill livestock 


Eating agricultural crops 


Get into poultry houses by digging under the fence or digging through the floor 


They may dig on the side of roads and paths causing them to erode or cave in 


Legal status in Nebraska: 


Protected. Badgers are a protected furbearing species that may be hunted and trapped. 


Best practices 


Protect Livestock and Poultry: 


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Weaning dates: 5-6 weeks 


Amount of time young remain with parents beyond weaning date: young will remain with the mother until around midsummer 


Common nuisance situations: 


Time of year: any time of year excluding winter 


What are they doing? 


Digging in lawns, pastures, crop fields, gold courses, gardens, or flower beds for worms 


Badgers will sometimes kill livestock 


Eating agricultural crops 


Get into poultry houses by digging under the fence or digging through the floor 


They may dig on the side of roads and paths causing them to erode or cave in 


Legal status in Nebraska: 


Protected. Badgers are a protected furbearing species that may be hunted and trapped. 


Best practices 


Protect Livestock and Poultry: 


Bury fencing 12 to 18 inches deep around areas livestock or poultry are kept in at night 


Repair any holes that are in barns or poultry houses 


Close and tightly fasten the doors to poultry houses 


If constructing a new poultry house use thicker lumber 


Bring livestock into a protected area when they are ready to have their young 


Install an electric fence close to the ground where badgers will try and die through 


Keep pastures mowed to a controllable length  


Remove food sources: 


Pick up fallen fruit that attract worms and grubs 


Exclude mice or other small rodents around the house as badgers will eat them 


Fence off gardens, burying the fencing 12-18 inches deep 


If badgers are digging in a peculiar area, cover it with chicken wire. Badgers do not like the feeling of digging through chicken wire 


If you have a fence around the yard, bury the fence 12-18 inches deep to prevent them from entering the yard.  


Mow around the edge of crop fields to remove cover and deter them from coming into the fields and digging 


Trapping strategies: 


Live Capture: 


Set a large cage trap near areas badgers frequent. Bait the trap with meat or a freshly killed squirrel, chicken, or whatever they have been killing 


Set the trap at dusk or a little bit before then  


Foothold traps 


Be careful not to set the stake to shallow, badgers have been known to dig around the stake to where it is loose enough to pull it out and drag it away. Instead set the stake very deep or use a strong limb or heavy object that they cannot get into their den 


Lethal: 


Set up a body-gripping trap at the den entrance  


Preferred killing methods: 


Shooting, using a shotgun or rifle. Aim for the head if rabies testing is not required 


CO2 chamber (if caught in a cage trap, simply place the trap in the chamber. If caught directly, using a catchpole, for example, stun the badger, then transfer it into the chamber) 


Acceptable killing methods: 


Stunning and chest compression  


Control strategies that don’t work particularly well or aren’t legal in Nebraska: 


Noisemakers, such as propane cannons, radios, and tape recordings, may convince the badgers to move a den. However, they are not generally effective in preventing livestock depredation. Badgers are also territorial so they may just move a few hundred yards from the noisemakers. 


The same holds true for flashing lights such as strobe lights or beacons. They’re most effective in an enclosure or small area, when used intermittently with other techniques. 


Collect dog hair and spread it around the perimeter of the vulnerable area 


Using guard dogs may work in some cases. However, badgers are very territorial and put up a big fight. This could lead to the dog being seriously injured even if they win the fight 


Pour vinegar around a vulnerable area as badger use their sense of smell to find food underground. The strong vinegar smell can deter them from the area. 


Hunting is not a reliable means of control as badgers are mainly nocturnal 


For information on pesticides follow the link, https://nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/regulate.html