5 Facts about the American Badger

American Badger (Taxidea taxus) by rvguy is licensed under CC BY 2.0opens IMAGE file

After the noon nature fact about badgers in Iowa, I thought I would dive into more research about them. Turns out, they’re pretty cool and live around us in open areas such as plains, prairies, the edges of forests, and in or around farmlands.

  1. The American Badger (Taxidea taxus) is native to Iowa even though they aren’t seen very often. They live in dens dug into the ground. When they don’t have babies accompanying them in the den, it’s possible for them to be in a new den every day. This makes it more likely for you to see their den than to see them.
  2. While they don’t have many natural predators due to their ferocious behavior and sharp claws, they do hunt small rodents and other prey such as rabbits, ground squirrels, and pocket gophers. The American Badger is a true carnivore. They don’t even drink water. They absorb water from the prey they eat.
  3. Badgers are generally solitary animals but during mating season, that changes. Mating season lasts July through August but the female badgers don’t get pregnant right away. The babies don’t start to grow until December or even February. But once those babies start to grow, they grow very quickly and will be born about five weeks later in March or April.
  4. Once the mom has her babies, she can have a litter between 1-5. They give birth in a den lined with grass and will stay in that den for a while. The babies are blind and have a short coat of fur when born but will be weaned by about eight weeks old. Then they can leave the mother and survive on their own by about 5 or 6 months old.
  5. When badgers are attacked by their slim number of predators, they have great defense mechanisms. Sometimes a coyote or larger animals try to eat badgers, but it doesn’t end well because badgers have very sharp teeth and claws. They also have loose fur which allows for the badger to maneuver to attack their predator. They are very strong from digging all those dens and very feisty, so they typically win their battles.

Badgers are native to Iowa and our area here in Dickinson County. Chances are you will see their dens before you see them though. The most common time to see them is at night as they are nocturnal so people don’t mess with them. But watch out on the road as they are sometimes hit by cars.

If you do see one, be a bit wary as they tend to be grumpy and not like visitors.