American Badgers’ Climbing and Jumping Behavior

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Published on July 1, 2022
Last Updated on October 11, 2023

American badgers have gained a reputation for being fierce and grumpy despite their persistently small and squat appearance. Their head appears disproportionately small in relation to the rest of the body while retaining a strong image.

American badgers are mammals known for their low stature, long claws, and short, muscular limbs that help them easily climb, but they cannot support their body to jump. It’s fascinating how these creatures can climb our fences to trespass our yards. Let’s dive in to know more about the details of these behaviors!

Do American Badgers Climb or Jump? (Trees and Other Obstacles)

American Badgers are great climbers, but their short limbs are not designed for jumping. They have stumpy tails and flat bodies with short legs that help them climb and fit through even the tiniest spaces. 

With the help of their sharp claws and strong limbs, they can climb rough surfaces with minimal effort. American badgers climb tree trunks, fences, and big rocks, especially when hunting for food.

Are Badgers Good At Climbing?

Yes. Surprisingly, badgers are great climbers. They are capable and great at easily climbing tree trunks, rough walls, fences, and netting. This is because their claws can grow from 1.25 to 1.5 inches long, which helps them grasp and hang on the surface of a fence or tree. 

One of the most telling characteristics of badgers is their behavior of destroying or breaking unstable fences. The fact that they are capable of climbing over fences but choose violence speaks a lot about these smallish but ferocious animals!

How High Can Badgers Climb?

Badgers are believed to be able to climb 3 to 4-ft tall rough fences; hence, most fences constructed to keep them out are just four-feet high. However, there are pieces of video evidence that show badgers are more capable than that. 

A rescued badger climbed a 6-ft. tall fence to escape its wildlife rescuer! There is also footage of a badger climbing 6-ft. up a tree — proving that they are more competent in climbing than we expect.

Do Badgers Climb Trees? (and Why?)

Yes! American badgers do climb trees. American badgers are even highly adapted for sitting in trees since their striped fur acts as a kind of camouflage in the tree foliage. In the dark, their brown, black, and white stripes resemble that of tree branches and grassland environments that help them blend in. 

Badgers go to great lengths to conceal their location to avoid a predator or sneak up on prey. 

Other kinds of badgers climb a tree to hunt for food too! In fact, the African honey badgers, who are cousins to American badgers, can readily climb the highest of trees to target bird nests, bee hives, or steal some honey.

Badgers sometimes climb trees because they simply can, and they want to explore. 

Badgers don’t use climbing to observe the environment around them, despite what you might think, since they have very poor eyesight, being nocturnal animals.

Do Badgers Live, Or Sleep In Trees?

Badgers do not live or sleep on the tree branches. However, badgers dig tunnels in the spongy soil at the root of a tree to build their home. The produced cave-like tunnel is called the sett, and it is used as a safe place to nurture and raise their young. Inside the sett, the badger’s babies sleep on a comfy bed of grass and fallen leaves. 

Badgers leave well-worn paths between their dens and their feeding grounds in the vegetation. They are also clean creatures; thus, their burrows contain a dedicated chamber designated as a restroom for their convenience.

Do Badgers Find Food In Trees?

Yes, there are lots of food found on trees that are suitable for the diet of badgers, such as fruits, nuts, and insects. Since Badgers are omnivores, they’ll eat just about anything, from meat and fruit to bulbs and bird’s eggs.

Badgers’ primary source of nutrition is earthworms, which account for about 80% of their diet. They’re capable of devouring hundreds of worms in one sitting, and these are easily found near the roots of a healthy tree.

Do Badgers Damage Trees?

Severe damage can happen, such as large branches breaking off, crotches splitting, the bark being stripped off, and the trunk splitting or splintering. It’s been reported that badgers break fruit trees’ lower branches while feasting on apples, pears, and plums. 

Badgers contribute additional damage to tree roots due to excessive digging to hunt prey or the extension of their setts.

When digging a burrow, they cause minor damage to the bark as they use their big claws to leave scratches on the sides of the Setts used to navigate their new home.

Can Badgers Climb Over Fences, Walls, Stairs, and Other Obstacles?

Yes! They are great at climbing. There are different testimonies of people seeing badgers climb unexpected places such as fences, walls, trees, and even stairs. They are also seen trying to climb ropes (but failed).

Badgers can climb efficiently because their short limbs distribute weight more evenly, and their smaller bodies allow them to hang below and use gravity to stabilize their position. 

In addition, when climbing trees, badgers utilize their sharp claws to grab onto twigs and bark with more ease, pulling the rest of their body upward.

Can Badgers Jump?

Despite having the proper body strength and strong, muscular limbs, Badgers still cannot jump. Their flattened stature and short legs prevent them from jumping.

Badgers don’t have the muscular structure to jump, unlike other fossorial animals (individuals adopted for digging) like moles, armadillos, and groundhogs. 

But Badgers have different capabilities and lifestyles suitable for their body structure, such as climbing and digging.

How Far (and High) Can Badgers Jump?

Indeed, badgers cannot jump; however, they can lift themselves an inch or two away from the ground and move 2 to 3 inches backward in a hopping motion. 

This is called the hop-clear behavior that happens as the badger digs. They collect a massive mound of loose soil, cradle it in their chest, and throw the soil to the back as the badger hops to make way for the discarded dirt. 

Can Badgers Jump Over Fences, Walls, Streams, or Other Obstacles?

No, the limbs and muscles of badgers are not designed for jumping. The long fore claws and strong front legs of badgers are more suitable for climbing and digging. 


  • Tommy

    Hi, I'm Tommy! I'm the founder of I am an animal enthusiast and self-proclaimed wildlife expert as well as a dog trainer and breeder of the breed Löwchen. Since I was a kid, I’ve been wildly fascinated by animals, both from growing up in a rural area where there were always animals around, but especially from seeing them in the wild.

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