Are American Badgers Pests? How Do I Repel Them From My Yard and Property?

The American badger (Taxidea taxus) is a resident mustelid in North America. This medium-sized animal lives in prairies, grasslands, and forest edges across the continent. In a perfect world, there’s a very low chance that people and badgers would ever cross paths.

However, with the dwindling habitat of badgers, there’s a high chance that the animal will wander into the yards and properties of humans. 

What should you do whenever you see badgers on your property? Are these pesky creatures considered pests that should be disposed of? Are there tips and tricks that can be used against these badgers? How can you prevent badgers from coming back into your yard again? 

Join Floofmania as we answer these questions about the American badger and its interaction with humans and more. Together, we’ll learn some interesting facts about badger invasions!

Let’s get started.

Will Badgers Ruin Your Garden, House, Fences, and Property?

You may almost freak out if you see a badger on your property. Such a reaction is reasonable as the critter could definitely be able to wreak havoc on your landscaping and whatnot. It is not rare nowadays to see badgers entering your garden and digging up holes.

American badgers are carnivores. They are always roaming around in search of food. Their diet consists of insects, mice, ground-dwelling birds, and other small animals. If you have such animals on your property, don’t be surprised to receive frequent visits from badgers.

As creatures of habit and territorial animals, the badgers will be coming back to your property over and over again until you do something about it. 

Property Damage Caused By Badgers

The American badger is a pretty strong animal. Their stout body, powerful limbs, and sharp claws are tools they use in digging, catching prey, and protecting themselves against predators. With these tools, badgers can do a lot of damage to your property.

The animals’ strength, physical features, and behavior combined are enough to ruin gardens, lawns, fences, and structural foundations of your property. Their setts and tunnel networks can be deep and wide; the extent of damage they cause can be considerable! 

How Would You Know If Damage is Caused By Badgers?

There are quite a number of digging animals in North America. The badger is just one of them. If you want to make sure if the damage is actually caused by a badger or something else, here are a few tips to remember:

  • Evidence of dug-up spots in your garden – Badgers will always dig to find worms, grubs, and rodents.
  • Partly eaten fruits, vegetables, and flowers – Plants are not usually part of a badger’s diet but when hungry, they’ll eat anything.
  • Broken fences – These animals are strong enough to break wooden fences that they cannot climb on.
  • Presence of setts and tunnels – Badger setts have beddings in them. Look inside for dried leaves and grass or traces of them.
  • Presence of badger latrine – Badgers usually dig one or two shallow holes, called latrines, where they leave their scat.

Are Badgers Considered Pests or Vermin?

Wild animals that are known to cause destruction to crops and farm animals are called vermin. On the other hand, pests are similarly defined as animals that bring diseases and lead to the destruction of crops and farm animals. The American badger is accused of being both vermin and pest.

However, the definite answer to this question depends on the perspective you’re coming from. Badgers are wildlife animals. These animals have claimed territories and tend to assume they own everything within such areas—including the food. 

If humans happen to live within badger territory, perhaps it can be said that humans are the vermin that have caused destruction to the badger’s habitat. Just food for thought.

Should I Report Badgers In My Neighborhood?

The badger’s presence in a neighborhood is both annoying and alarming. They can be very unpredictable and one wouldn’t immediately know the reasons why the badgers are in the area. They may be there in search of food or trying to build setts in preparation for the cold season.

There are several ways to deal with badger visits. Take note, however, that these animals are protected species. Harming badgers could get you in trouble. The first and best thing you could do if there are badgers in your neighborhood is to call the local wildlife authorities. Let them deal with this pesky critter. 

American Badgers Are Good At Breaking In

Badgers are incredibly smart and resourceful animals. They do not just possess excellent senses of smell and hearing but they also know how to get to their prey or enter highly secured food storages. If there’s a list of sneaky thieves in the animal kingdom, the badger is surely on it.

These animals can get to their food no matter how tough or challenging the journey is. 

Can Badgers Get Through Small Gaps?

Badgers can get through small holes or gaps where their body can fit in. No matter how chubby and thick their bodies are, they will be persistent and try to squeeze through small gaps and holes.

These mustelids can also create holes and gaps themselves by using their powerful claws. They can also dig through the soil and create tunnels to pass through. 

American badgers can even enter your homes through cat flaps. Check out this video in which a badger enters through a cat flap that’s half its size and steals the food of house pets. Granted, this is a European badger, but American badgers are able to do the same thing.

Are Badgers Able To Get Through Chicken Wire?

Badgers cannot bite through gauge wire or chicken wire fences but they can climb over or dig tunnels under the fence to get into your property. It’s also possible that a persistent badger might be able to eventually rip through the wire if it’s a bit patient.

These animals are not just excellent diggers. Their ability to climb over obstacles is also underrated.

Having a fence is not enough to stop or deter the badger from entering your property, and you still have to apply additional measures against badger invasions. Obstacles are just a form of challenge for the badger and not a hindrance to reaching their goals.

Speaking of obstacles, let’s get into the next section…

Can Badgers Move Rocks and Other Obstacles In Their Way?

The badger is an extremely smart animal. The animal has impressive problem-solving skills that allow the badger to get past an impressive amount of obstacles. They can even push doors and move heavy bricks aside!

Check this video below which, again, is of a European badger, but still illustrates the point quite well:

As you can see, the badger was even surprised at how easy the puzzle was. What a smart critter!

Is It OK To Encourage Badgers Into Your Yard?

Some people encourage animal wildlife like badgers to come into their yards. The badgers are allowed to come and dig for worms, fly larvae, other insects, and rodents. There are also instances wherein people would wait for the animals and then feed them with pet food.

On the other hand, there are places where badgers are treated as pests. Badgers have a negative image especially when they come and destroy farmlands, landscaping, and gardens as well as feed on poultry and other small farm animals.

Having badgers in your garden can be both beneficial and bothersome. If you think the benefits outweigh the problems the critter brings, then welcome these cute creatures with open arms. If you think of badgers as a nuisance, then apply preventive measures or actions to keep them away from your garden. Just don’t harm them.

The choice is yours.

Is It OK To Feed Badgers?

This question draws a few quite diverse opinions from experts and ordinary people alike. The most common reason why wild animals come to your property is for food. Feeding the badgers is an act of generosity especially when their food in the wilds is scarce.

Take note, though, that you should only feed them out of necessity. Wild animals that become too reliant on humans for food have a tendency to gradually lose their hunting abilities. 

It could also be dangerous for badgers to keep going to your property if your neighbors do not like them or if the animals cross busy roads or highways just to get to you.

Moreover, if you have small animals on your property like rabbits, hamsters, chickens, and ducks, keep them away from the badgers. The opportunistic mustelids will surely treat them as food. 

Can Badgers Be Good To Have Around?

Yes, having badgers in your garden is actually good—as long as you’re OK with them digging and doing other badger activities. Here is a list of ecological benefits of having badgers in your garden:

  • Dug-up soil is richer in nutrients and minerals compared to soil on the surface.
  • Having American badgers around could greatly reduce the population of real pests—rats, mice, and cockroaches, which are all delicacies to the badger.
  • Badgers can also help in keeping more dangerous animals like snakes from entering your property.

Do Badgers Dig Up People’s Yards?

It is not unusual to find badgers in peoples’ yards. These animals love to dig for various reasons. Digging is the badgers’ way of life and no yard is safe once they claim it as their own. 

Badgers dig for the following reasons:

  • Badgers dig in search of their staple foods such as gophers and other rodents, worms, and insects.
  • They also dig to build setts.
  • These sanitation-conscious animals will also dig latrines for pooping and peeing. 

Fun Fact: The latrines also serve as territory marking to keep other badgers away. 

How Do I Deter Badgers From Coming Near My House

While some people may like having badgers on their property, there are also individuals who do not like the mustelid near their house. 

If you do not want badgers coming to your property, here are some ways to deter these animals:

Note: Floofmania DOES NOT recommend using lethal or harmful methods as means to deter badgers from entering one’s property.

Installing Infrared-Triggered Lights 

Battery-charged LED lights with sensors can deter the nocturnal badgers from entering your property. Place the lights on your lawn, yard, or across the badger’s path. The animal will be startled and flee when the lights are automatically turned on. 

Scarers With Glowing Eyes 

You can also use scarers which are solar-powered lighting installations that mimic predator or animal eyes. Badgers will mostly avoid confrontation with other same-sized animals or those that are much larger than them. 

Installing Deeply-Set Mesh Fences Around Your Property 

This may be a bit expensive, especially if you have to fence a large area, but metal fences are great for keeping badgers from getting onto your property. Make sure that the mesh is buried at least 3 feet deep so the animal cannot dig underneath.

Play Some Music During The Night 

Badgers do not like noise as it disturbs their hunting and scavenging modes. Playing music during the night can deter badger visits. Make sure to keep the volume moderate, though, to not irritate your neighbors as well.

Non-Toxic Chemical Repellants 

There is a long list of chemical repellants you can use to keep badgers from entering your property. These are widely used to repel badgers without harming them. However, there are doubts about their effectiveness and safety for both humans and badgers.

More information about these chemical repellants is listed below.

Can I Repel Badgers With Smells?

You can find a lot of supposedly effective non-lethal badger repellants online or from your local store. The efficiency of these chemicals varies. Some can be very effective while others take time for the results to take effect. 

  • Citronella Oil – Badgers hate the scent of citronella. Spray the oil at the bottom of fences and entrances of your property. This method, however, does not work on hungry badgers.
  • Scotch Bonnet Chili Peppers – The scent of these peppers is irritating to badgers. Spray crushed and minced pieces across the garden or along the badgers’ pathways. 

Take note though that this method is only effective for the first few applications. Once the badger has adapted to its scent, it will just treat the pepper and other spices as snacks.

  • Vinegar – Vinegar can be effective as a badger repellant. Vinegar masks the scents of the food the badger is targeting. However, this only works for a small area and you would need to spray periodically.
  • Predator Urine – The territorial badgers would want to avoid confrontation with non-prey animals as much as possible. If they smell the urine from their natural predators, they’d then stay away from that area. Even human urine can be effective, in deterring badgers, so that’s maybe something to try! 

How Do I Stop Badgers From Pooping In My Yard?

Unfortunately, you cannot tell the badger to not poop in your yard. The animal wouldn’t understand you anyways. They cannot be toilet-trained either. 

In fact, badgers poop in a certain location as an indication they own the place. Badgers will dig shallow holes (latrines) and leave some litter in them to signal other badgers that your yard is their territory and they will protect the area as much as possible. 

The only way to stop badgers from pooping in your yard is to drive them away or apply non-lethal measures to keep them from entering your property.

How Do I Protect My Chicken Coop From Badgers?

Chickens, geese, and other poultry are tasty treats for the badger. Protect your livestock by installing a metal mesh around their enclosure. The top of the coop should be unclimbable while the bottom should have another layer of mesh wire buried deep or cemented.

It’s also strongly recommended to use a strong hardware mesh instead of ordinary chicken-wire, since American badgers, if insistent enough, will be able to eventually make holes in ordinary chicken wire.

Can Badgers Be Relocated?

Yes, badgers can be relocated but only with the help of the proper authorities.

Badgers can be annoying; more so if they cause damage to your property and livestock. As the recommended methods of repelling them can be very expensive or not a hundred percent effective, the best way to keep them away is through relocation.

As they belong to the list of fur-bearing species, American badgers are protected animals. They cannot be harmed without permits and licenses provided by the state you live in. It is best to talk to your local wildlife agency so that a safe and proper action can be implemented. 

How To Catch And Relocate Badgers

If you have obtained a permit, you are allowed to trap any badgers that are intruding on your property so that they can be safely relocated to an area where they won’t be bothering humans. Trapping badgers is a seemingly easy task. 

Here are the steps for catching American badgers:

  1. Set cage traps at the sett’s entrances. 
  2. Conceal the traps with dirt, grass, and other materials found in the badger’s habitat.
  3. Avoid leaving scents and odors while preparing the trap.
  4. Place bait inside the traps. Bait can meat of animals badgers commonly preys on.
  5. Apply a couple of drops of badger gland lure. This will increase the chance of the badger checking the trap.
  6. Secure the trap so the badger cannot tip the trap over and escape.
  7. Leave the trap overnight.
  8. Return to the site in the morning. Once the badger is inside the trap, check its sett for any kits.
  9. Bring the badger to the designated relocation area and release it.

Author: Jomvie Reyes

Jomvie has been a writer for over 10 years and animals and wildlife are among his favorite topics. Learning and writing about the vast and diverse wildlife from all over the world, is more of a hobby than a job for him. Jomvie loves to watch and observe these remarkable species up close and personal.

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