Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management | Handling

badger walking trhough grasssy area
American badger (Taxidea taxus). Photo by Ryan Hagerty, USFWS.


Badgers (Taxidea taxus) are members of the weasel family and have the musky odor characteristic of this family.

Legal Status

In some states, badgers are classified as furbearers and protected by regulated trapping seasons, while in other states they receive no legal protection. Contact your state wildlife agency before conducting lethal control of badgers.

Physical Description

The badger (Taxidea taxus) is a stocky, medium-sized mammal with a broad head, a short, thick neck, short legs, and a short, bushy tail. Its front legs are stout and muscular, and its front claws are long. It is silver-gray, had long guard hairs, a black patch on each cheek, black feet, and a characteristic white stripe extending from its nose over the top of its head. The length of this stripe down the back varies. Badgers may weigh up to 30 pounds (13.5 kg), but average about 19 pounds (8.6 kg) for males and 14 pounds (6.3 kg) for females. At night, the eyes shine green.


The badger is widely distributed in the contiguous United States. Its range extends southward from the Great Lakes states to the Ohio Valley and westward through the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast, though not west of the Cascade mountain range in the Northwest. Badgers are found at elevations of up to 12,000 feet (3,600 m).

Home range of badgers.

Voices and Sounds

Badgers may hiss, growl, or snarl when fighting or cornered.

Tracks and Signs

Tracks may appear similar to coyote tracks to the novice. Claw marks are father from the toe pad in badger tracks, however, and the front tracks have a pigeon-toed appearance.

Comparison of badger and coyote tracks, front and hind feet. From Colorado Cooperative Extension, Wade.

Badgers usually consume all of a prairie dog except the head and the fur along the back. This probably holds true for much of their prey, however, signs of digging near the remains of prey are the best evidence of predation by a badger.


Information on this species is based on the chapter in Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage (Hygnstrom, Larson, Timm, ed. 1994), written by Fred Lindzey (Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit).