Wild Guide

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From Missouri Conservationist: August 2017

American Badger | Taxidea taxus

  • Status: The American badger is listed as “vulnerable to extirpation” in Missouri because of its restricted range, relatively few occurrences, and widespread declines.
  • Size:  26–35 inches (length) 13–30 pounds (weight)
  • Distribution: Sparse across most of the state

Don’t let the cute face and stocky body fool you. Underneath that fur lies a brawny, digging machine. Badgers can dig faster than their unwitting prey and faster than a human armed with the latest, high-tech gardening tool. Active mainly at night, badgers have keen vision, scent, and hearing. They are solitary animals that live in open prairies and farmland.

Life Cycle

Badgers mate in late summer and give birth in early spring. The young stay with their mothers through the summer. Badgers have a home range of 1 to 2½ square miles where they dig a series of dens. They are most active at night. During winter, they become less active, occasionally leaving their burrows to hunt for food.


Badgers eat rodents, such as ground squirrels and mice. They also eat rabbits, insects, lizards, snakes, and eggs of birds and turtles.

Ecosystem Connections

Badgers control rodent populations, and their digging activities aerate and mix the soil.

Did You Know?

With their strong, sharp claws, badgers are excellent diggers and can disappear underground in less than a minute. They can move quickly, up to 15 miles per hour, and are capable swimmers.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen

Staff Writer - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler