Are American Badgers Tough Survivors? (Questions & Answers)

The American badger is a species of badger native to North America. They are widely regarded as highly intelligent animals. Members of the mustelid family and like all badgers have thick fur and loose skin that makes them difficult for predators to bite on to and capture them.

American badgers have a reputation for being fearsome and tenacious, two characteristics that made Wisconsin choose them as their state animal and it has earned its place in the state’s coat of arms.

The official mascot of the University of Wisconsin-Madison also chose a badger, affectionately named Buckingham U. Badger or simply “Bucky”.

Do Badgers Easily Get Hurt? Are They Really Bulletproof?

Two American badgers on a green field next to a pile of dirt.

It is quite difficult to seriously injure a badger. They have strong defensive qualities such as their long, front claws for attacking or quickly digging a hole for hiding. 

Their tough, thick skin, while not bulletproof, is as thick as 0.25 inches. Human skin is only 0.07 in comparison. Badgers are even known to come out almost unscathed when attacked with scary weapons like arrows and spears! 

Badger skin is also very loose. You could compare it which wearing an oversized onesie. Having skin like this makes the badger able to twist its body around from a predator’s mouth to avoid being captured and attack back in defense. 

Another defensive characteristic is its scent glands that secrete a strong musky odor, similar to that of the skunk, although not as strong-smelling, it is usually enough to dissuade predators. 

Is It True That Badgers Are Immune to Snake Venom?

Closeup of a snake.

This may sound like an urban legend but it’s not! American badgers are unaffected by snake venom if bitten because of their thick skin unless they get bitten on the nose.  

Like many predators, American badgers are opportunistic hunters and will eat whatever they can get their paws on. This solitary animal will usually dine on gophers, ground squirrels, and other rodents. 

Snakes, too, are definitely not off the table. They are an excellent source of meat and are part of the badger’s carnivore diet. American badgers are not called the prime predator of rattlesnakes for nothing! 

Can a Badger Handle Rat Poison?

Badgers are largely at risk of secondary poisoning when it eats a rodent that has consumed rat poison. A rat who has consumed rat poison will get increasingly weaker hour by hour, which makes the tainted rat an easy and tempting prey for the badger.

A rodenticide dose that can take down a rat may not be enough to lethally affect a badger but it can still make them sick. However, as rapid urbanization encroaches on the badger’s habitat, they may gain access to poisoned bait laid out by humans that are meant for pests and suffer the consequences after eating it.

Aside from the threat of poisoning, pest control is also a factor in the dwindling number of burrowing rodents. As a result, the number of badgers has also reduced especially in the western United States where large-scale pest control campaigns are being carried out.

If A Badger Gets Hurt, Can It Easily Recover?

Any nasty-looking bite wounds to the badger’s necks or hind quarters will usually heal very quickly without intervention. It’s almost like a superpower! 

The badger looks cute and cuddly but its ferocity is legendary. It will choose to fight back rather than stand down or hide which may result in bite and scratch injuries.

If you see an injured badger in the wild it is still best to call a wildlife expert from a state wildlife agency or a veterinarian specializing in wildlife to assess its wounds and to see if human intervention is necessary. 

Usually, though, badgers are able to take care of themselves. 

Do Badgers Have a Lot of Stamina?

A combination of speed and endurance along with powerful claws, a keen sense of smell, and hearing makes it easy for the American badger to chase down its prey.  

It can definitely measure up to the admirable physical stamina of the coyote and they have been known to hunt together.

The American badger also has enough stamina to bury a cow. This practice is known as caching, storing food for later consumption. If you’ve ever done any garden tilling you would know this is tiresome work!

Native American warriors admired the badger for its ferociousness and willingness to fight when confronted with a predator. Many tribes considered the badger a bringer of good luck because of its persistence and endurance.

Are Badgers Good at Withstanding Extreme Weather?

In general, how the American badger is affected by extreme weather depends on the condition of its habitat and the availability of prey.  

Drier and hotter weather makes grass fires more frequent which degrades the environment where the American badger’s prey species, like ground squirrels and gophers, live. This means less food for badgers. 

When this happens, badgers move to more desirable climate conditions in higher altitudes and mountainous areas. 

In winter the badger does not really hibernate like other animals but may sleep off the extreme cold in their snug burrow.  They do not usually venture out for several days.

Can Badgers Cope with Climate Change?

There are no formal studies on how global warming affects American badgers at present. 

As a whole, environmental changes decrease food availability and put wild animals at risk, badgers included. Overheating and dehydration is also a serious problem.

Despite challenges faced from urban and agricultural encroachment and habitat loss, the American badger is a highly adaptable and sturdy animal

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.

Leave a Comment