Most people are unaware that badgers live in our area. Kansas and much of the Midwest are home to the North American Badger.
- They can quickly build elaborate underground tunnel systems and can out-dig many other native diggers such as groundhogs and skunks.
- Some badger tunnels have been documented as deep as 30 feet.
- Badgers prefer to live in big open plains, pastures, or hay fields.
- Full-grown animals weigh about twenty pounds. They have short legs that are barely visible when they walk. They are flat, close to the ground, and wide.
- Badgers have strong claws designed for quick digging when trying to evade a predator or go after its own prey. Badgers have been known to prey on mice, rats, moles, rabbits, snakes, shore birds, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and groundhogs.
- They are nocturnal animals but will come out during the day if the mood strikes them or if they get hungry enough.
- Badgers are strictly carnivores.
- Badgers manage reproduction via delayed implantation of a fertilized egg, which means the female can mate in September, but not become pregnant from that mating until as late as February.
- Young are born between March and May. Typical litters are four to five pups, and they are blind at birth.
Babies are fully weaned and leave the den at eight to 10 weeks.
Baby badgers – To rescue or not to rescue
If you believe you have found a baby badger, be cautious and watch from a distance.
If mom does not return within an hour or you notice any signs of injury below, contact OWL.
Caught by Pets
Adult badgers can be very dangerous. DO NOT PICK UP. Call us immediately.
Cats have mouths full of bacteria that can kill an animal in a short time. All animals caught by a cat need to be brought in for medication and rehabilitation, even if you can’t see wounds.
If a dog brings you an animal, bring it in immediately. Dogs have powerful jaws that can create crushing injuries.
What to do
If you hit a badger…
Car accidents are a major cause of death for badgers. The prime time for badgers to be crossing the roads is during mating season, which is much later than other species, occurring from late summer to fall (September to November). These are usually males who are looking for the opportunity to mate.
If you have accidentally hit a badger, be VERY cautious when approaching the animal to see if it is still alive. Badgers have large carnivore teeth. When threatened, badgers will hiss, growl, bare their teeth, and attack. Badgers are POWERFUL animals! Keep your distance and call us for help.
What to do
Badgers Digging into Chicken Coops, Sheds, & Barns
In 24 hours or fewer, a badger can go from completely unnoticed to unavoidable by digging directly into a chicken coop, barn, or other structure on private property. Chicken coops are the most common considering badgers have no trouble catching and eating a chicken.
The simplest method to stop the digging is to purchase metal tent stakes, rebar, or metal garden stakes at least six inches long (preferably longer). Drive the stakes into the ground, spaced roughly two inches apart, with a hammer until the stake top is flush with the ground. When an animal attempts to dig under the coop’s fence line, these bars will greet them, and they should move on. Badgers are such quick diggers though that they can dismantle these bars in a fairly short time if they really want to.
What to do
Car accidents are a major factor in causes of death with badgers. The prime time for badgers to cross the roads is during mating season, which is much later than other species (September-November). These are usually males, looking for the opportunity to mate.
Signs of Injury
If you notice any of these issues, contact OWL as soon as possible:
- Cold and lethargic.
- Covered with fleas, ants, ticks, or flies/fly strike (looks like small clusters of rice anywhere on the animal).
- Has been fed any kind of formula or food.
- Has been in a cat’s or dog’s mouth.
- Broken limb, cuts, or bruises.
- Head tilt.
- Unable to stand or move without falling over.
The First Treatment for Shock or Injury: Warm, Dark, and Quiet
If you need to bring an animal into OWL, the most important thing you must do is to keep them warm and quiet.
Put in a shoebox or other container with several small air holes in the lid and a non-terrycloth towel, fleece cloth, or t-shirt in the bottom. Tape the lid to keep secure.
Adult animals need to be contained in a dog or cat kennel.
If you have a heating pad, set to low and place the box half on/off the pad, so the animal can move away from the heat if needed. OR
Fill a sock or knee-high pantyhose with uncooked dry rice. Microwave the rice-filled sock for 30 to 60 seconds. This heat source will last about 20 to 30 minutes. Place the rice sock in the container under the towel, and place the animal on or near it, but not directly in contact with the rice sock. OR
Fill a Ziploc bag with warm (not hot) water, put it inside another Ziploc bag, and place under the towel next to the animal. The double bag guards against leaks and prevents the animal from getting wet and chilled.
Do not feed or give anything to drink. Baby badgers have very specific diets, and the wrong foods can quickly cause enteritis (diarrhea) and death. Keeping the animal warm is more important than feeding it.