Oct 31 2013
The American badger is ready for Halloween. He always wears a mask.
This nocturnal member of the weasel family isn’t found in Pennsylvania but occurs from western Ohio to the California coast. He makes a living by digging for small burrowing animals, especially mice, squirrels and prairie dogs so his favorite places are grasslands where the soil is easy to dig and his prey is abundant. That’s a habitat rarely found in Pennsylvania.
American badgers are nature’s backhoes but they work at night and are usually alone. This makes them hard to watch and census. Even so, we can guess they’ve declined or are missing from areas where prairie dogs have been eradicated.
For a 24 minute window on the badger’s life, watch this 1970 video from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom which filmed them during the day. I must say it brought back memories to see Marlin Perkins again.
(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image to see the original. Video from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Season 8 Episode 108, Released 01/01/70)