|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
I found this American Badger today at work, he was doing some excavation work and having lunch. The strange part was he was having duck dinner as he must have catch the duck sitting on her nest.
Description Flattish body, wider than high, with short, bowed legs. Shaggy coat grizzled gray to brown. Short, bushy, yellowish tail. Face dark brown or black with white cheeks; narrow white stripe runs from above nose over head to nape. Snout pointed and slightly upturned. Ears small. Feet dark, with large foreclaws. Male larger than female. L 20 –34" (521–870 mm); T 3 7/8 –6 1/4" (98–157 mm); HF 3 1/2–5 1/8" (89–130 mm); Wt 7 7/8–25 lb (3.6–11.4 kg).
Warning The badger usually avoids human contact but is very capable of defending itself against a human if harassed.
Similar Species Wolverine is larger, bulkier, and browner, and lacks facial stripes.
Breeding Mates July–August; implantation delayed until February. Litter of 1–5 young born March–April. Well furred but blind at birth, the young are weaned by June.
Habitat Open plains and prairies, farmland, and sometimes edges of woods.
Range Western U.S. east to e Texas, Oklahoma, n Missouri, n Illinois, n Indiana, and n Ohio; north to se British Columbia, much of Alberta, s Manitoba, and s Saskatchewan. Range appears to be increasing.
Discussion This powerful burrower is basically nocturnal but is often active by day, waddling about and occasionally moving at a clumsy trot. Its home range varies from about 590 to 4,200 acres (240–1,700 ha). The home range of the male is larger and encompasses the ranges of several females. Although primarily terrestrial, the American Badger swims and even dives, and on hot days sprawls in shallow water to cool off. It buries its droppings and cleans itself frequently, swallowing loose hair licked from its coat. Although the badger does not hibernate, it may become torpid in the coldest part of winter, remaining in a nest chamber deep within its burrow for several days or weeks. Adapted to feed mainly on small burrowing mammals, especially ground squirrels, pocket gophers, rats, and mice, which it usually digs out of the ground, a badger can destroy the burrows of an entire ground squirrel colony. This carnivore often forages by visiting its abandoned dens, as potential prey will frequently use them, and it may dig up hibernating animals. Occasionally a badger will dig itself into an inhabited burrow and await the occupant’s return. A Coyote sometimes watches attentively as the badger digs for prey and may steal the rodent as it pops from an escape exit, but the Coyote and badger do not truly hunt together. Fond of rattlesnake meat, the badger is evidently unharmed by the venom unless the snake strikes its nose. The American Badger also eats invertebrates, birds, reptiles, and carrion; it buries surplus meat for future use. Burrows or dens are central to the badger’s existence; it uses its many dens for sleeping, giving birth, and food storage. An active badger uses different dens nearly every day, except when young are present. Records show that one badger dug a new burrow each day in summer, reused one den for several days in autumn, and used a single den through most of the winter. Dens have one entrance, with a pile of dirt just outside that may serve as a latrine area. The entrance may be plugged during the coldest part of winter. Depending on use, dens may vary in length and depth; not all dens have a nest. Maternal dens are more complex than other dens, with the main tunnel branching and rejoining, presumably so the badgers can pass one another. Maternal dens also have dead-end tunnels, pockets, and chambers. Except during mating and rearing of young, the American Badger is solitary. Males and most females do not mate until the second year, though a few females become pregnant as juveniles (4 to 5 months). The young disperse in late summer. Because the badger is a formidable adversary, few animals will attack it. Its thick fur, loose, tough hide, and heavy neck muscles protect it as it bites, claws, and exudes (not sprays) a skunk-like musk, all the while snarling, squealing, growling, and hissing. Despite such ferocity, it seldom picks a fight, preferring to retreat if necessary. A poor runner, the badger will back into a nearby burrow and face its tormentor with its sharp teeth and strong claws; once inside, it plugs the entrance hole. If no burrow is available as refuge, it may dig one, showering dirt in the face of its attacker, and excavating so quickly that it can outpace a person digging with a shovel. The American Badger probably got its common name from the white, badge-like mark on its forehead. In Europe it was once considered sport to bait badgers, and the verb "to badger," meaning to tease, annoy, or persecute, derives from that cruel practice. Badger hair is used to make paintbrushes, and the coarse bristles were once used in shaving brushes. Although their excavation activity can pose hazards for hoofed animals, badgers are valuable in controlling rodent populations in agricultural areas.
Argus, boreocypriensis, anel, CeltickRanger, uleko, Miss_Piggy, ubc64 has marked this note useful
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- [2010-05-25 19:13]
Oh wow, that is a cool pic to take at work, Rick!
Where do you work?
What a great POV!
Did you get down on your knees in your work clothes?
Very sharp and great eye contact.
maybe could use a bit more light and contrast?
TFS : )
Very nice work, Rick. I like this guy. I met one last year, and he sure was grumpy! The composition is very nice here, and I like the pile of dirt you included.
Todas las especies de mustelidos, tienen la gracia y agilidad de un felino. La picaresca forma de su rostro fue captada de forma admirable por ti. Felicidades.
- [2010-05-25 20:49]
Your pics are always like a history ...The little animal is one of your character...And your notes make me dream...Bravo and many congrats!And many thanks.
- [2010-05-25 21:16]
this is an exciting composition of the wild excavator. I like the special BW stripe on the face.
You captured it red handed showing its face out of the hole.
Good natural view and colour contrast too.
- [2010-05-25 22:15]
A great opportunity well taken!
The sharpness and colours, POV and composition are first class.
You had great lighting to be able to take such a fine shot of an American Badger digging a set. Here in Europe our Badgers are mostly nocturnal and availablity of light is very limited for any photogarphy using daylight.
Thanks for sharing this delight Rick,
very cool shot for this interesting specie
well done !!
Fine shot of this species I haven;t seen before. Great candid pose. Maybe could have done with a levels adjustment before posting. Great composition.
- [2010-05-26 1:36]
This is a great catch. It's very hard to get this animal on photo. My compliments.
- [2010-05-26 2:01]
Excellent presentation! Thanks for sharing
Very lovely and technically perfect capture of this prety excavator badger showing its activity well with dirt pile.
TFS and have a nice day MF!
- [2010-05-26 4:38]
Interesting and well taken picture. Your badgers seem to be a little different from the European ones. We almost never see ours, being mostly activ at night. Your specimen seems to be quite awake during the day hours. Well composed and presented with natural colors.
Thanks and kind regards
this is a beautiful photo of the American Badger,
with fine POV and the way it is framed,
fine focus sharpness and details, TFS
- [2010-05-26 8:19]
I'm amazed how much wildlife there's around you!! And, moreover, you manage to get some super shots of various species! This is a lovely capture of a Badger captured in a lovely pose. I think it must have been worried about you as a competitor in the excavator business!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla
- [2010-05-26 12:19]
What a fantastic moment you got here. Very beautiful natural colours in this photo. Great sharpness, details and a superb composition. Good low POV and DOF.
Time is chasing but….
This is just superb. I cannot find fault. It is a sheer enjoyment to stop by a great photographers work and leave a note of appreciation for excellent work.
- [2010-05-26 14:17]
Good crisp shot of that badger, showing his facial markings, head and fur very well. The colours are very natural. Nice eye level view. I haven't seen one of those animals in many years. I used to see them all of the time when we would visit my grandparents' farm. I would always give them a wide berth because of their reputation. TFS.
- [2010-05-31 23:18]
You use a 100-400mm lens, this is a very good lens I work a lot with the same lens.
Wonderful picture, not easy for take, but very well done.
Color and composition are nice for look at.
Sharpness and clarity be superb. TFS.