Ms. Todd

Sex: Female
Birthday: March 30, 2017
Ms. Todd is a rescued orphan North American badger. Zoo Idaho acquired Ms. Todd from Idaho Fish and Game who recovered the badger from Power County after the mother was hit by a car.

American Badger (Taxidea taxus)

Taxonomy

Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Chordata
Class:   Mammalia
Order:  Carnivora
Family:  Mustelidae
Sub-family:  Taxideinae
Genus:  Taxidea
Species:  taxus

Conservation Status in Idaho

Not rare and apparently secure, but with cause for long-term concern

Range and Habitat

Badgers range from southern Canada to Mexico primarily in the Great Plains region. They are currently expanding their range east as a result of the clearing of land. Their habitat is variable including relatively dry open areas with little vegetation such as plains, prairies, dry grasslands, and cold deserts.

Physical Features

Weight: 8.8-26.5lbs (4-12kg)
Length: 1.4-2.4ft (42-72cm) average adult
Shoulder height: 9-11in (23-28cm)
Tail length: 4-6.3in (10-16cm)

Males are slightly bigger than females.

The American badger has a flattened body with a thick neck and short legs. They have a distinct facial pattern; brown with two white cheek areas and a black triangular patch in front of the ears. There is a white stripe that runs from the nose to the neck or back. American badgers have shaggy fur that ranges from yellow-brown to silver gray dorsally and light cream to buff ventrally. Their skin is loose allowing it to turn around in small places such as burrows. The front feet are larger than the rear with longer backward curving claws specialized for digging.

Diet

They are primarily carnivorous feeding on small mammals such as pocket gophers, ground sqirrels, moles, marmots, prairie dogs, woodrats, deer mice, and voles. Badgers will also eat ground nesting birds, lizards, amphibians, carrion, fish, insects, and some plant food.

Lifespan

Up to 14 years in the wild and over 20 years in captivity.

Reproduction

Female American badgers reach sexually maturity at four months with most mating after their first year. Males will not breed until at least their second year. Mating occurs between late summer and fall. The American badger is similar to bears with delayed implantation of the embryos, where once implanted gestation is six weeks. Litter size is between one to five and they are born in early spring.

Social Behavior and Interaction

Badgers are solitary nocturnal animals that occupy non-defended home ranges with males having slightly larger ranges than females. They are excellent diggers able to tunnel rapidly through all types of soil and hard substrates. Burrows are typically constructed in pursuit of prey and for sleeping. A badger den can be 10ft (3m) deep and have 33ft (10m) of tunnels. They use multiple burrows within their home range and during the summer may dig a new burrow each day. Badgers do not hibernate during winter months but go into torpor for periods of around 30 hours.

Major Threats

American badgers face localized threats due to agricultural and urban development, forest ingrowth, vehicles, and killings by humans.

Skip to content