The American badger (Taxidea taxus)[n 1] is a North American badger, somewhat similar in appearance to the European badger, although not closely related. It is found in the western and central United States, northern Mexico, and south-central Canada to certain areas of southwestern British Columbia.
The American badger's habitat is typified by open grasslands with available prey (such as mice, squirrels, and groundhogs). The species prefers areas such as prairie regions with sandy loam soils where it can dig more easily for its prey.
|In Point Reyes National Seashore, California|
|American badger range|
The American badger is a member of the Mustelidae, a diverse family of carnivorous mammals that also includes weasels, otters, ferrets, and the wolverine. The American badger belongs to the Taxidiinae, one of four subfamilies of mustelid badgers – the other three being the Melinae (4 species, including the European badger), the Helictidinae (5 species of ferret-badgers) and the Mellivorinae (honey badger); the so-called stink badgers are mephitids. The American badger's closest relative is the prehistoric Chamitataxus. Among extant mustelids, the American badger is the most basal species.
Recognized subspecies include: the nominate subspecies T. t. taxus, found in central Canada and central US; T. t. jacksoni, found in the southern Great Lakes region including southern Ontario; T. t. jeffersoni, in British Columbia and the western US; and T. t. berlandieri, in the southwestern US and northern Mexico. Ranges of subspecies overlap considerably, with intermediate forms occurring in the areas of overlap.
In Mexico, this animal is sometimes called tlalcoyote. The Spanish word for badger is tejón, but in Mexico this word is also used to describe the coati. This can lead to confusion, as both coatis and badgers are found in Mexico.
The American badger has most of the general characteristics common to badgers; with stocky and low-slung bodies with short, powerful legs, they are identifiable by their huge foreclaws (measuring up to 5 cm in length) and distinctive head markings. Measuring generally between 60 and 75 cm (23.5 and 29.5 in) in length, males of the species are slightly larger than females. They may attain an average weight of roughly 6.3 to 7.2 kg (14 to 16 lb) for females and up to 8.6 kg (19 lb) for males. Northern subspecies such as T. t. jeffersonii are heavier than the southern subspecies. In the fall, when food is plentiful, adult male badgers can reach up to 11.5 to 15 kg (25 to 33 lb). In some northern populations, females can average 9.5 kg (21 lb).
Except for the head, the American badger is covered with a grizzled, brown, black and white coat of coarse hair or fur, giving almost a mixed brown-tan appearance. The coat aids in camouflage in grassland habitat. Its triangular face shows a distinctive black and white pattern, with brown or blackish "badges" marking the cheeks and a white stripe extending from the nose to the base of the head. In the subspecies T. t. berlandieri, the white head stripe extends the full length of the body, to the base of the tail.
The American badger is a fossorial carnivore. It preys predominantly on pocket gophers (Geomyidae), ground squirrels (Spermophilus), moles (Talpidae), marmots (Marmota), prairie dogs (Cynomys), pika (Ochotona), woodrats (Neotoma), kangaroo rats (Dipodomys), deer mice (Peromyscus), and voles (Microtus), often digging to pursue prey into their dens, and sometimes plugging tunnel entrances with objects. The American badger is a significant predator of snakes including rattlesnakes, and is considered the most important predator of rattlesnakes in South Dakota. They also prey on ground-nesting birds, such as the bank swallow or sand martin (Riparia riparia) and burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), and lizards, amphibians, carrion, fish, skunks (Mephitis and Spilogale), insects, including bees and honeycomb, and some plant foods such as corn (Zea mais), peas, green beans, mushrooms and other fungi, and sunflower seeds (Helianthus).
American badgers are generally nocturnal; however, in remote areas with no human encroachment they are routinely observed foraging during the day. Seasonally, a badger observed during daylight hours in the Spring months of late March to early May often represents a female foraging during daylight and spending nights with her young. Badgers do not hibernate but may become less active in winter. A badger may spend much of the winter in cycles of torpor that last around 29 hours. They do emerge from their burrows when the temperature is above freezing.
An abandoned badger burrow may be occupied by mammals of similar size, such as foxes and skunks, as well as animals as diverse as the burrowing owl, California Tiger Salamander and California Red-Legged Frog. The American Badger has been seen working with a coyote in tandem while hunting. Typically this pairing is one badger to one coyote, however, one study found about 9% of sightings included two coyotes to one badger, while 1% had one badger to three coyotes. Researchers have found that the coyote benefits by an increased catch rate of about 33%, and while it is difficult to see precisely how the badger benefits, the badger has been noted to spend more time underground and active. Badgers are also thought to expend less energy while hunting in burrows. According to research, this partnership works due to the different hunting styles of the predators and how they prey reacts to them. A ground squirrel, upon spotting a coyote, will crawl into its hole to escape; while upon seeing a badger, the ground squirrel will climb out of its hole and use its speed to out run the badger. Hunting in tandem raises the prey vulnerability and both predators win.
Badgers are normally solitary animals, but are thought to expand their territories in the breeding season to seek out mates. Mating occurs in late summer and early fall, with some males breeding with more than one female. American badgers experience delayed implantation, with pregnancies suspended until December or as late as February. Young are born from late March to early April in litters ranging from one to five young, averaging about three.
Badgers are born blind, furred, and helpless. Eyes open at four to six weeks. The female feeds her young solid foods prior to complete weaning, and for a few weeks thereafter. Young American badgers first emerge from the den on their own at five to six weeks old. Families usually break up and juveniles disperse from the end of June to August; young American badgers leave their mothers as early as late May or June. Juvenile dispersal movements are erratic.
Most female American badgers become pregnant for the first time after they are a year old. A minority of females four to five months old ovulate and a few become pregnant. Males usually do not breed until their second year.
American badgers prefer grasslands and open areas with grasslands, which can include parklands, farms, and treeless areas with friable soil and a supply of rodent prey. They may also be found in forest glades and meadows, marshes, brushy areas, hot deserts, and mountain meadows. They are sometimes found at elevations up to 12,000 feet (3,700 m) but are usually found in the Sonoran and Transition life zones (which are at elevations lower and warmer than those characterized by coniferous forests). In Arizona, they occur in desert scrub and semidesert grasslands. In California, American badgers are primarily able to survive through a combination of open grasslands of agricultural lands, protected land trust and open space lands, and even regional and state and national park lands with grassland habitat. The Sonoma County badger population includes some protected and private lands near the Sonoma Coast, as well as one in South Sonoma County fragilely surviving in spite of abundant prey due to fragmentation. Badgers are occasionally found in open chaparral (with less than 50% plant cover) and riparian zones. They are not usually found in mature chaparral. In Manitoba aspen parklands, American badger abundance was positively associated with the abundance of Richardson's ground squirrels (Spermophilus richardsonii). In Ontario it primarily resides on the extreme southwestern portion of the province, restricted to the north shore of Lake Erie in open areas generally associated with agriculture and along woodland edges. There have been a few reports from the Bruce-Grey region.
American badger use of home range varies with season and sex. Different areas of the home range are used more frequently at different seasons and usually are related to prey availability. Males generally have larger home ranges than females. In a 1972 study, radiotransmitter-tagged American badgers had an average annual home range of 2,100 acres (850 hectares). The home range of one female was 1,790 acres (720 hectares) in summer, 131 acres (53 hectares) in fall, and 5 acres (2.0 hectares) in winter. Lindzey reported average home ranges of 667 to 1,550 acres (270 to 627 ha). Estimated density of American badgers in Utah scrub-steppe was one per square mile (2.6 km2), with 10 dens in active or recent use.
As of 2014, overdevelopment of American Badger habitat had resulted in reduced range, decreased prey, and forced badgers into contact with man foraging between fragments. Direct observations in Sonoma County, documenting habitat and badger sightings and foraging, reflect various ranges within the fragmented habitat areas from less than 1/2 mile to approximately 4 miles. Within these areas, the availability of prey and a fresh water source are key factors for the preferred habitat areas and ability to survive. Identifying and conserving habitat areas where there is year-round activity, along with identified burrowing patterns and observations of female badger territory for birthing and raising young have become critical factors in survival of the species.
American badgers are most commonly found in treeless areas, including tallgrass and shortgrass prairies, grass-dominated meadows and fields within forested habitats, and shrub-steppe communities. In the Southwest, plant indicators of the Sonoran and Transition life zones (relatively low, dry elevations) commonly associated with American badgers include creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), junipers (Juniperus spp.), gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), willows (Salix spp.), cottonwoods (Populus spp.), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), grasses, and sagebrushes (Artemisia spp.).
In Colorado in 1977, American badgers were common in grass–forb and ponderosa pine habitats. In Kansas, they are common in tallgrass prairie dominated by big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans). In Montana 24 years ago, badgers were present in Glacier National Park in fescue (Festuca spp.) grasslands. In Manitoba, they occur in grassland extensions within aspen (Populus spp.) parklands.
American badgers require cover for sleep, concealment, protection from weather, and natal denning. They typically enlarge foraged out gopher or other prey holes, or other animal burrows. Their dens range from about 4 feet to 10 feet in depth and 4 feet to 6 feet in width. A female American Badger may create 2 to 4 burrows in proximity with a connecting tunnel for concealment and safety for her young. Displaced soil from digging out the burrow characteristically appears in front of the burrow entrance, and a view from a distance reveals a mound-like roof of the burrow, with the living and concealment space created underneath the raised-roof appearing mound.
During summer and autumn, badgers range more frequently, with mating season generally in November, and burrowing patterns reflect 1 to 3 burrows may be dug from foraged out prey holes in a day, used for a day to a week, and then abandoned, with possible returns later, and other small wildlife utilizing abandoned burrows in the interim. Where prey is particularly plentiful, they will reuse dens, especially in the fall, sometimes for a few days at a time. In winter, a single den may be used for most of the season. Natal dens are dug by the female and are used for extended periods, but litters may be moved, probably to allow the mother to forage in new areas close to the nursery. Natal dens are usually larger and more complex than diurnal dens.
While the American badger is an aggressive animal with few natural enemies it is still vulnerable to other species in its habitat. Badgers are hostile. Predation on smaller individuals by golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), coyotes, cougars (Puma concolor), and bobcats (Lynx rufus) have been reported. Bears (Ursus spp.) and gray wolves (Canis lupus) occasionally kill American badgers.
In May 2000, the Canadian Species at Risk Act listed both the Taxidea taxus jacksoni and the T. t. jeffersonii subspecies as an endangered species in Canada. The California Department of Fish and Game designated the American badger as a California species of special concern.
The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.Badger
Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the families Mustelidae (which also includes the otters, polecats, weasels, and wolverines), and Mephitidae (which also includes the skunks). They are not a natural taxonomic grouping, but are united by possession of a squat body adapted for fossorial activity. All belong to the caniform suborder of carnivoran mammals. The 11 species of mustelid badgers are grouped in four subfamilies: Melinae (4 species, including the European badger), Helictidinae (5 species of ferret-badger), Mellivorinae (the honey badger or ratel), and Taxideinae (the American badger); the respective genera are Arctonyx, Meles, Melogale, Mellivora and Taxidea. Badgers include the most basal mustelids; the American badger is the most basal of all, followed succesively by the ratel and Melinae. The two species of Asiatic stink badgers of the genus Mydaus were formerly included within Melinae (and thus Mustelidae), but more recent genetic evidence indicates these are actually members of the skunk family.Badger mandibular condyles connect to long cavities in their skulls, giving resistance to jaw dislocation and increasing their bite grip strength, but in turn limiting jaw movement to hinging open and shut, or sliding from side to side but not the twisting movement possible for the jaws of most mammals.
Badgers have rather short, wide bodies, 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. They have black faces with distinctive white markings, grey bodies with a light-coloured stripe from head to tail, and dark legs with light-coloured underbellies. They grow to around 90 cm (35 in) in length including tail.
The European badger is one of the largest; the American badger, the hog badger, and the honey badger are generally a little smaller and lighter. Stink badgers are smaller still, and ferret badgers smallest of all. They weigh around 9–11 kg (20–24 lb), with some Eurasian badgers around 18 kg (40 lb).Cariboo
The Cariboo is an intermontane region of British Columbia along a plateau stretching from the Fraser Canyon to the Cariboo Mountains. The name is a reference to the caribou that were once abundant in the region. The Cariboo was the first region of the Interior north of the lower Fraser and its canyon to be settled by non-indigenous people, and played an important part in the early history of the colony and province. The boundaries of the Cariboo proper in its historical sense are debatable, but its original meaning was the region north of the forks of the Quesnel River and the low mountainous basins between the mouth of that river on the Fraser at the city of Quesnel and the northward end of the Cariboo Mountains - an area that is mostly in the Quesnel Highland and focused on several now-famous gold-bearing creeks near the head of the Willow River, the richest of them all, Williams Creek, the location of Barkerville, which was the capital of the Cariboo Gold Rush and also of government officialdom for decades afterwards (it is now a museum town). This area, the Cariboo goldfields, is underpopulated today but was once the most settled and most powerful of the regions of the province's Interior. As settlement spread southwards of this area, flanking the route of the Cariboo Road and spreading out through the rolling plateaus and benchlands of the Cariboo Plateau and lands adjoining it along the Fraser and Thompson, the meaning changed to include a wider area than the goldfields.
The grasslands of the Cariboo are home of the regionally endangered American badger (Taxidea taxus jeffersonii).Catopuma
Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the bay cat (C. badia) and the Asian golden cat (C. temminckii).
Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head. They inhabit forested environments in Southeast Asia. The bay cat is restricted to the island of Borneo. Originally thought to be two subspecies of the same animal, recent genetic analysis has confirmed they are, indeed, separate species.The two species diverged from one another 4.9-5.3 million years ago, long before Borneo separated from the neighboring islands. Their closest living relative is the marbled cat, from which the common ancestor of the genus Catopuma diverged around 9.4 million years ago.Chamitataxus
Chamitataxus is a prehistoric badger genus. Chamitataxus avitus is the only known species of the genus. Chamitataxus lived during the Late Miocene, around 6 million years ago in what is now North America. Out of the three taxideine badger genera to have existed on the continent, Chamitataxus is the most primitive. Very few taxideine badger remains have been uncovered to date, with only prehistoric Taxidea and Pliotaxidea specimens being discovered prior to the Chamitataxus holotype being found.Dutch Creek Hoodoos
The Dutch Creek Hoodoos are located in British Columbia, Canada, and can be seen along British Columbia Highway 93/British Columbia Highway 95 between Canal Flats and Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia.
The Dutch Creek Hoodoos are within a 67 acre conservation area that is managed by the Natural Conservancy of British Columbia. This conservation area
is joined by the Nature Trust Hoffert Property and they both act as a habitat for varying plants and animals including the American badger, Lewis's woodpecker, the Hooker's Townsendia, Eagle, and Hawk.(Eh Canada Travel). The Dutch Creek Hoodoos can be further discovered by following the 4.6 mile trail that faces an elevation gain of 95 meters over the course of the trail. (Eh Canada Travel)Ferret-badger
Ferret-badgers are the five species of the genus Melogale, which is the only genus of the monotypic mustelid subfamily Helictidinae.
Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti)
Chinese ferret-badger (Melogale moschata)
Javan ferret-badger (Melogale orientalis)
Burmese ferret-badger (Melogale personata)
Vietnam ferret-badger (Melogale cucphuongensis)Indian brown mongoose
The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.Lutrogale
Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.Midnight (Hunter novel)
Midnight is a fantasy novel, the first book in Erin Hunter's Warriors: The New Prophecy series. Following The Darkest Hour and Firestar's Quest, and preceding Moonrise, it was released May 10, 2005. The novel centers on a group of feral cats living in four Clans: ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan.Mustelidae
The Mustelidae (; from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, mink, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56-60 species across eight subfamilies.Mustelinae
Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).Nyctereutes
Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.
Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.Panoche, California
The unincorporated community of Panoche is located along Panoche Road in the southern, rural part of San Benito County, California, United States. The community is about 2.7 driving miles east of County Route J1. The county seat, Hollister, is roughly 35 miles (56 km) straight-line distance. The Fresno County line is about 3.7 miles (6.0 km) distant to the northeast. The area encompassed by San Benito County continues just over 20 miles (32 km) farther south where the south extent meets Fresno and Monterey counties.The US Geological Survey feature ID is 252760 and the NAD27 latitude and longitude are listed as
36°35′49″N 120°50′01″W. Elevation is shown as 1,220 feet (372 m) AMSL.The Panoche Inn is one of few area landmarks. The bar and restaurant is busy with motorcycle enthusiasts on weekends in sunny weather. Some customers camp at Mercey Hot Springs or ride off-road vehicles at a nearby Bureau of Land Management tract. The adjacent private grass airstrip is also used by local glider pilots in spring and autumn by agreement with the Inn owners. On the drive from Interstate 5, motorists will pass Little Panoche Reservoir: about 12.6 straight-line miles distant at 7.6 degrees off true north.
Panoche Valley grasslands are frequented by a variety of bird species of special interest, including Golden Eagle, Mountain Plover, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Merlin, Mountain Bluebird, Loggerhead Shrike, Burrowing Owl, and Long-billed Curlew. The valley provides critical habitat, especially in winter, for these birds. Mammals in the area include three federally endangered species; the San Joaquin Kit Fox, Giant Kangaroo Rat, and Nelson's Antelope Squirrel. American Badger is also native to the valley. Endangered reptiles in the valley includes Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard.
There is only one place in the entire world named Panoche, making it unique among the world's place names. It is thought that the name Panoche is derived from the local Indian word for a species of cane that once grew in the valley from which the Indians extracted panoche, a kind of sugar. It is believed that this is the origin for the name panocha, a popular Mexican and Filipino sugar (though processed somewhat differently from each other), and a pudding eaten during Lent in New Mexico and Southern Colorado.The ZIP Code is 95043. The community is inside area code 831.Paradoxurinae
The Paradoxurinae are a subfamily of the viverrids that was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.Pocock subordinated the oriental genera Paradoxurus, Paguma and Arctictis to this subfamily.Prionailurus
Prionailurus is a genus of spotted, small wild cats native to Asia. Forests are their preferred habitat; they feed on small mammals, reptiles and birds, some also on aquatic wildlife.Pusa
Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.
The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.
Only the Caspian seal is endangered.Santa Ana Mountains
The Santa Ana Mountains are a short peninsular mountain range along the coast of Southern California in the United States. They extend for approximately 61 miles (98 km) southeast of the Los Angeles Basin largely along the border between Orange and Riverside counties.
Extant Carnivora species