Find the best places to hunt Badger in Canada and discover the Badger's Physical Description, Range, Habitat, Food Source, Breeding Habits, and Status. 

Provinces with Badger Hunting

Province / Territory

Species

Season

Nunavut

Absent

 

Northwest Territories

Absent

 

Yukon

Absent

 

British Columbia

Present

 

Alberta

Present

Resident

Saskatchewan

Present

 

Manitoba

Present

 

Ontario

Present

 

Quebec

Absent

 

New Brunswick

Absent

 

Nova Scotia

Absent

 

Prince Edward Island

Absemt

 

Newfoundland

Absent

Range - Distribution and Habitat of Badgers

There are three species of Badger occurring in their northern range limit here in Canada.

American Badger (jacksoni) is an endangered subspecies that can be found in southern parts of Ontario and South-western Manitoba. Most of Ontario’s badgers reside along the north shore of Lake Erie in open spaces that are mostly associated to farming operations and along woodland edges. There have also been a few reports of Badger in the Bruce-Grey region.

The Badger (T. t. taxus) has a COSEWIC status of “Special Concern”. It can be found in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The existence of Badger in Manitoba has been closely linked to the Richardson's ground squirrels as a source of prey. So it is not surprising to find it in the aspen parklands,

British Columbia is the only Canadian home of Badger (T. t. jeffersonii) and has a COSEWIC status of “Endangered”. Inhabiting dry spaces like Upper Columbia River Valley it is estimated that less than 200 badgers remain.

Badger Range Map of Canada

Badger Range Map of Canada

Original map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Modified By: Canada-Hunts.ca

 

In general terms, this species likes to occupy grasslands and open areas containing grasslands. These areas can include open land consisting of fields, forest glades, farmland, marshes, and treeless areas. The key ingredients in every case is for the space to have soft crumbly soil and a good supply of rodents for prey.

Dens (burrows) made up of connecting tunnels and numerous entrances are formally called a sett or set. These setts are extremely important to the badger as they function as a platform in which they can sleep during the day, food storage, raising their young, and should be close to a source of prey. These setts are usually dug in well drained and loose soil such as sand. , Sloping ground with is some cover is another favourable condition for the sett.

Badgers live in colonies and will use several setts. Most of the colony will use a large main sett that is usually located in the middle of a colony's territory and will be occupied by most of the colony's members. Smaller setts located away from the main sett is usually smaller and may have only two or three entrances. Its’ use is for a small group of colony members who may be foraging for a seasonal food sources or as a maternal sett when the main sett is too crowded for raising young.

The main setts can be quite large and spacious. Spacious enough to house 15 or more members of the colony and may have up to 980 ft (300 m.) of tunnels with as many as 40 openings in various states of use. Such complex setts require extensive tunnelling and may take many years for colony(s) of badgers to complete. They are dug under ground any where from 1.6 to 6.6 ft. (0.5 – 2 m.) deep and contain large chambers lined with grass, straw, ferns, or dead leaves for bedding material. Dug tunnels are somewhat like the build of the badger in that they are broader at 12 in. (30 cm.) than their height of 9.8 in (25 cm).

Large amounts of earth, old bedding, stones, and even the bones of expired badgers may be found below the opening of a sett and may utilize an existing structure like a building, pile of rock or timber

The Badger uses a lot of different setts and may change a sett every day, except for when it has young.

Description of Badger:

Badger 

 Badger
Badger - Larry Lamsa - Flickr 

Badgers are omnivores (eats both plants and meat) belonging to the weasel family (Mustelidae) and are related to mink, otters, weasels, polecats, marten and wolverine.

The male of the species is generally larger than the female. Males will weigh 20 lb. (9 kg.) while females will be 15 lb. (7 kg.) in weight. The badger has a body length of 23.5 to 29.5 inches (60 - 75 cm.).

There are a lot of physical characteristics in describing the badger. I see it as the sports car of animals. Starting with a well built wide body that is low to the ground and quite muscular. Propulsion for this mammal is delivered through a set of short powerful front bowed legs that are dark brown in color from which its long sharp 2 in. (5 cm.) claws give it the additional ability to dig rapidly in soil. Its rear legs are also short, have shorter hind claws which are used to shovel away the dirt that has been dug with its fore-claws. I need to mention its short tail and the fact that it has partial webbing between its toes and claws. Its’ neck is very muscular and thick. It head is wide pie shaped with short ears and a pointed nose.

Now let’s cover this animal with long thick fur and loose skin along its flanks. These features give it the appearance of being flat and that it floats on the ground when running but all of this is actually part of a defence mechanism. The evolutionary strategy here is that the loose skin and fur gives this animal time to turn on its’ would be attackers.

Evolutionary development has covered the body of the badger with a coat of brown, black and white coarse fur that have streaks of gray to give it a mixed brown-tan appearance and help it camouflage itself in its grassland habitat.

Give this little critter a white or cream colored face and add streaks of brown or black "badges" surrounded by yellowish colored fur on its cheeks and under its eyes. Now you know where it gets the name Badger from. Two additional streaks of black or brown start at its nose and go right up over its head between its eyes.

A badger uses a lot of vocalizations when it is attacked as part of its defence. During an attack it will hiss, growl, snarl, squeal and release a musk that might be used to deter a predator. Their musk is also used to identify each other and to mark trails.

Badgers are primarily nocturnal typically retreating to their sett at day-break, they will spend most of the day snoozing underground and come out just before dusk.

The life expectancy for a wild badger is 9–10 years of age with a record at 14 years old.

Dental formula: I 3/3, C 1/1, Pm 3/3, M 1/2 X 2 = 34.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of Badger:

 Badger in Sett

 Badger In Sett
By USFWS Mountain-Prairie (Burrowing Badger) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 

The badger is one of nature’s few mammals adapted to burrow and chase its prey through burrowing techniques. It will eat a wide variety of foods but it is primarily a carnivore and on its top 10 list are: pocket gophers, ground squirrels, moles, marmots, prairie dogs, pika, woodrats, kangaroo rats, deer mice, and voles,

Its list of prey does not stop here as lizards, reptiles, amphibians, carrion, fish, skunks, insects, including bees and honeycomb, and snakes (rattlesnakes included) are also on its diet.

Ground-nesting birds, their young, and eggs are not safe either. Birds like the bank swallow, sand martin, and burrowing owl are also prey. 

It will consume plant foods like like corn, peas, green beans, mushrooms and other fungi, and sunflower seeds.

Finally badgers will consume carrion and will cache surplus food.

The badgers foraging strategy is to find and pursue its prey into their dens by digging and at times blocking its preys’ tunnel entrance with obstacles. It sometimes burrows an exploratory hole, smell for its prey and if detected will dig it out and eat it.

Breeding and Reproduction of Badger:

Pair of Badgers

 
Pair of Badger 
Photo By - Larry Lamsa - Flickr 

Badgers are considered a reclusive mammal and it is thought that they expand their range during the mating season when they seek out new mates. Males will breed in August to September with more than one receptive female, if given the opportunity.

Female badgers delay the implantation of their embryo into the uterus until the months of December to late February. A litter of 1 to 5, with an average of 3, are born in the time period of late March to early April.

A natal den is built out of bulky grasses in an expanded chamber.

The young are born blind, fur covered, and helpless. They will open their eyes at 4 to 6 weeks or age, and come out of the natal den in 5 to 6 weeks. They are fed mother's milk, then solid foods prior to complete weaning. In August the young set off to establish their own territory.

A few females may ovulate and become pregnant at 4 to 5 months of age but sexual maturity for most females is reached at the age of 1 year while males normally don’t breed until they are 2 years old.

Status of Badger in Canada

 Badgers Playing

 
Badgers Playing
Photo By - Larry Lamsa - Flickr 

It is difficult to get an accurate count of badgers in an area because the mammal is primarily nocturnal, has a large home territory and there no relationship between populations size and burrow entrances

The subspecies located in British Columbia (jeffersonii) and Ontario (jacksoni) is listed as endangered.

Some of the sources for this decline are cited by an inability of the species to move through its normal range because of a loss of badger habitat and habitat fragmentation. Human impact like the clearing of native vegetation affects badger habitat with a loss in prey. Many badgers are killed along public roadways by automobiles. The shooting, poisoning and trapping of badgers by farmers, trappers, ranchers, and sport hunters all have a negative effect.

A few natural predators like the cougar, coyotes, or wolf will at times try to take on a badger. Eagles have been known to take young badgers. In spite of the opinion that it is a ferocious and aggressive fighter, the badgers’ first reaction is to hide when threatened. In such cases, it will burrow itself into a hole in minutes the whole time throwing dirt into the face of its attacker.

References

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badger
  • http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/what-we-do/resource-centre/featured-species/american_badger.html?gclid=CjwKEAjw3Nq9BRCw8OD6s4eI5HASJABsfCIawKAnxMwyDvpZxcsx7B-gpNiZgkPbsdidoQ9Vn6rC8xoCh23w_wcB?referrer=https://www.google.ca/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_badger
  • http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/badger.pdf
  • http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/wild-species/mammals/weasels-related/american-badger.aspx
  • http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/kootenay/natcul/blaireau-badger.aspx
  • https://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=A6C3A000-1
  • https://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/virtual_sara/files/cosewic/sr_blaireau_am_badger_1113_e.pdf
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sett

Background Images

Badger - Larry Lamsa - Flickr

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