The American badger (Taxidea taxus) is somewhat different from its relatives when it comes to building relationships with its family and peers.
This badger from North America has a very distinct social behavior. Rumor has it that the badger doesn’t like hanging around with others. Is there truth to this statement? Is the American badger a social snob or quite the opposite?
Join Floofmania in discovering the social behavior of the American badger as well as of its relatives living on the other side of the world. You’ll learn that these mustelids are truly unique and at the same time behave like humans—in some ways. Let’s get started.
Are Badgers Social Animals?
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Badgers, like most members of the Mustelidae family, are solitary animals. The only species of badger known to be social and live in groups is the European badger (Meles meles).
Are Badgers Shy and Elusive? (And Rare to See?)
American badgers are typically shy and aloof nocturnal creatures. They also prefer to be alone. When in situations where they come in contact with humans or other animals, they’ll try to stay away as much as possible.
Do Badgers Live In Groups or Packs? (Or Are They Solitary Animals?)
Unlike its Eurasian relatives from the other side of the world, the American badger is a solitary creature. It does not like to live in groups.
Furthermore, it actually tries to stay away from other badgers except during the breeding season. It is estimated that there is only one badger living within every five-mile radius of land at a given time.
When the mating season arrives, both male and female American badgers will travel great distances just to find a mate. Yes, both badger sexes will be traveling until they find their mate for the season.
American badgers are polygamous and will have multiple partners throughout their lifetime. It’s a good thing that these critters haven’t heard of Tinder yet!
Once the pair has agreed to mate for the season, the couple will start digging new setts or reuse abandoned ones. They will stay there during the copulation, and gestation, and until the weaning of their offspring for that season.
Note: There are times when both parents will be taking care of their young together. However, as promiscuous and polygamous as these badgers are, the mother is usually left to rear their young alone. The father would leave and be with other females in the same season.
How Many Badgers Live Together?
American badgers usually live alone. As mentioned above, the only times they are seen in pairs is during the months of July and August—their mating season. During the mating season, both male and female badgers will occupy the same territory.
What Is A Group Of Badgers Called?
A group of badgers living together is called a cete or clan. This grouping is usually composed of several generations of badgers living in the same network of tunnels or setts.
Some setts are said to be hundreds of years old and are still liveable until this day. That is a close-knit family of badgers!
Note: Only the Eurasian badgers do this kind of grouping.
The American badger, on the other hand, has also been noted to be practicing sett reusing. However, the species does not live in groups after their offspring are weaned.
By the 6th month of life, the young badgers will be kicked out of their parent’s homes and live their lives elsewhere.
Both parents will also go their separate ways after taking care of their young.
How Are Badger Clans Organized?
American badgers do not have clans as they prefer to be alone. Their European counterparts do have clans of varying sizes. Some clans can consist of a dominant pair—usually the oldest one— leading the group.
The other members can be their offspring and their mates that were absorbed by the clan.
Do Badgers Travel In Pairs, Groups, or Alone?
The North American badger lives and travels across its claimed territory alone. Its territory is vast (at least 5 miles) and traveling from one point to another will usually take hours. That’s a bit of a lonely adventure for this poor creature.
Are Badgers Playful?
The European badgers are a playful bunch, especially their cubs. They usually play around with their clan members as they perform their daily activities of digging, foraging, and hunting.
The solitary American badger, on the other hand, still has some playfulness in its nature. It can still find some ways to have fun, entertain itself and enjoy life. Check out the video below.
Will Badgers Ever Get Near Humans? (Are They Friendly With Humans Or Scared Of Us?)
Humans are initially perceived as threats by badgers. The badger’s incredible sense of smell can spot a human from up to 70 yards away. When humans, as well as other perceived predators, are detected, the badger will emit a musky scent to warn others of impending danger.
The badger’s first reaction when threatened is to find an escape route. If the first option is not available then the animal will do growling and hissing sounds to scare off the threat. These mustelids rarely will back down from a fight. So if you encounter one of them in the wild, be prepared.
However, there’s a big “BUT” coming.
American badgers can be very suspicious and will stay away from humans BUT these animals also can be friendly toward us.
There have been reports of badgers living on properties or near the houses of humans. Food is always at the top of the badger’s priority list. Whoever has food will become the badger’s friend.
There are a couple of reasons why the badger becomes comfortable around humans.
- Badgers quickly learn that humans are not threats that they should be scared of.
- These badgers are extremely hungry and identify humans as a source of food.
Note: Despite the fact that these badgers are really very cute when playing around humans, Floofmania does not recommend playing with them. Overfamiliarity with humans can be dangerous for these animals, especially if you have neighbors who don’t share the same level of friendliness as you.
Do Badgers Get Along With Other Animals Like Foxes or Coyotes?
Saying that badgers get along with coyotes and foxes is a bit of a stretch. They are not friendly toward each other—that’s sad but true. All of these animals are opportunistic hunters, including the badger.
These carnivorous animals will take every chance they have to munch on some meat. Moreover, badgers are also on the menu list of coyotes and foxes.
Maybe we can describe it with the phrase “badgers are civil with other animals that are not their food”.
Nevertheless, badgers and some of these medium-sized predators sometimes do team up in hunting for prey. Hunting in tandem provides these animals advantages and higher chances of success compared to hunting alone.
Here’s one particular example when the badger and coyote raid the prey’s den. The badger digs into the tunnels while the coyote stays above ground to catch any escaping prey.
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.