American Badger Territories (Are Badgers Territorial?)

American badgers, like other badgers, are fierce and have features built to defend themselves. And speaking of defense, do you ever wonder how these badgers are when it comes to protecting their territories? Are they territorial or more of the lenient kind? 

Well, American badgers are indeed territorial. This behavior is not surprising since they are also known to be solitary animals; thus, sharing territory with other animals may not be on their list. 

Now, if you want to know more about their territorial behaviors, continue scrolling through this article as I talk about American badger territories. 

Are Badgers Territorial?

According to the article by RSPCA, an organization that prevents animal cruelty in the United Kingdom, badgers are “highly territorial” – and territorial fights among badgers are very common. 

The article also mentions that their territorial disputes can be brutal and may lead to serious injuries and damages. Meanwhile, according to Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, even though badgers are territorial, there are cases where their large home ranges can overlap with other animals.  

Interestingly, there are seasons when badgers go to other territories for mating and socializing. 

Furthermore, badger territories are not protected by only one badger. Since badgers can live with other badgers in a sett (called clan), they are all in charge of defending their territory from other clans or predators. 

Similar to other territorial animals, badgers have their reasons why they defend their homes. In the next part, let us explore why badgers are territorial. 

Why Are Badgers Territorial?

Badgers are very territorial mainly because of two things: Protecting their food supplies and controlling the females of the clan. 

American badgers sometimes do not immediately eat their hunted prey – especially if it is a large haul. These badgers tend to store their food in specific parts of their interconnected dens. With this, they ensure to protect those areas from possible intruders. 

In addition, during the mating season, male badgers from other clans might wander to other territories to look for potential mates. Therefore, they become extra territorial and put more effort into protecting their female clan members. 

Will Badgers Mark Their Territory?

One of the reasons why badgers are considered territorial is their excellent territorial markings. Unlike other animals, badgers have a wide range of markings. 

Urine is used for marking territorial borders with the badger’s scent. Badgers will stop and squat while going across their sett from time to time, leaving a scent on objects like rocks or logs. 

Additionally, feces is also dumped close to the sett and at important territory boundaries – such as boundaries between two neighboring clans. 

This method is useful since apparently, badgers appear to distinguish the difference between feces left by members of their clan and those left by outsiders. The term “latrine” refers to a group of dung pits. 

Do Badgers Fight For Territory?

Yes, badgers fight for their territory. As mentioned earlier, fights among badgers in relation to their territories and boundaries are common. In addition, since badgers are aggressive, their fights can get pretty brutal. 

Male badgers are more likely to get into a fight than female badgers. Also, if a female badger is the one who crossed another border, they have more chances of getting accepted compared to the male ones. This is because female badgers are perceived as an asset for mating, while male badgers are only seen as a threat. 

However, there are instances where males from neighboring territories who have become aware that they are crossing a boundary automatically walk away without engaging in any sort of aggression. This behavior is associated with badgers’ respect for other clans’ borders. 

Two American badgers sorrounded by green grasses on a hill, next to a pile of dirt.

What Should You Do If You See Badgers Fighting? 

Since badgers can be found in rural areas, stumbling upon badgers fighting is not entirely impossible. Now, what should you do? 

Even though you have a good intention of preventing major injuries from happening, intervening during badger fights is not advisable. The best thing that you can do is to keep a safe distance from the fight. 

According to the spokesperson from RSPCA, badgers usually fight one another because of their territorial nature. Thus, trying to intervene in their fight can also cause you injuries. 

What Kind Of Terrain Is A Badger’s Territory?

American badgers are usually found living in areas such as grasslands, shrub-steppe, desert, dry forest, parkland, and agricultural terrains. Their territories are mostly found in the Great Plains region of North America. Even though badgers are considered adaptable, they still prefer to live on dry terrains. 

Furthermore, they need to build their setts in a place where they can excavate dens and burrows. 

How Far Apart Are Badger Setts?

First, badger setts refer to the underground burrows and tunnels where a badger clan lives. These setts are composed of the main sett (the biggest one) and other non-main setts (smaller setts). The main sett serves as the clan’s headquarters. Now, the smaller setts are usually 100 to 300 feet away from the main sett. 

Moreover, the smaller setts are not that active or often used by the badgers compared to the main sett. 

How Big Are Badger Territories?

Badger territories vary from one another. Some badgers make their home range larger if food resources are not abundant. In addition, the size of their territories can also depend on the number of badgers living in their clan.

According to the article by The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, the average range of a badger’s above-ground territory is 395 to 2,100 acres! Can you imagine how big is it considering that an average football field is only about 1.32 acres? 

Now, when it comes to their setts, they can extend from 20 to 100 meters. Plus, it can have up to 50 entrances! 

These sett and territory sizes only prove that American badgers really have superior digging skills. 

Do Badgers Have Some Kind Of Territorial Call?

Technically, badgers do not have an exact territorial call. But, they have specific vocalizations that have different meanings. Some examples of distinct badger call are the following: churr, growl, kecker, yelp and wail

First, the churr is basically a mating call among badgers. The kecker sound is usually connected with threat, attacking, and submission.

Meanwhile, the growl is considered the longest badger call. This call is used when they detect an intruder in their territory. On the other hand, the wailing sound is associated with intense fear or pain. 

Check this video below to hear what a badger sounds like: 

Do Badgers Stay In The Same Place?

A badger usually lives with a group of badgers called a clan. The amount of available food affects both the size of the clan and the territory. Their setts can be used by many generations of badgers; thus, some territories are very old. 

Moreover, badgers don’t always stay within their territories or setts. For example, male badgers usually make extra-territorial excursions (ETEs) throughout the year – especially around April to September.

According to the researchers of the study, this might be due to monitoring outside their territories or looking for potential mate partners outside their clan. 

How Far Do Badgers Travel Each Night?

According to a study about badgers, badgers are capable of traveling up to 15 miles. However, badgers usually only travel a few miles or more from the main sett – depending on their need to get food.

Meanwhile, badgers that are removed from their clans by the main boar might travel longer distances until they can find a safe place or a new clan.

On the other hand, there are seasons when badgers do not travel at all. During winter, badgers may just leave their dens to use their latrines or toilets. In winter, badgers don’t hibernate, but minimize their activities, without entirely stopping them.

Author: Kaye

Hi, I’m Kaye! Since an early age, I’ve been fascinated with animals. While growing up, I was constantly watching animal programs and reading magazines. I started writing about animals in 2021 when I volunteered to be a publicity officer in a nonprofit organization that advocates for giving stray animals a better life.

Author: Mitzie C

Mitzie is a writer and animal welfare advocate. Her writing is inspired by her love for her rescue cats, Eddy and Dylan, and her rescue dogs, Cypher, Daegu and Holly. Follow her journey as she discovers her unique voice here in Floofmania and shares her insights on the importance of the animal kingdom.

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