Happy National Badger Day, Earth Rangers! Welcome and get ready to embark on a journey through a day in the life of a North American badger.
If you were a badger, you would roll out of your den in the middle of the night to start your “day” – after all, badgers are nocturnal, which means they sleep in the day, and are active at night! A badger’s den is quite elaborate and often consists of an entire underground network of tunnels that connects to different chambers for sleeping. Some dens can be up to 10 metres deep! Once you are roused from your badger-y slumber, you would definitely be hungry for breakfast. A badger’s breakfast consists of rodents, (like ground squirrels, mice, voles, marmots, and gophers), and other things they can scrounge up like small birds, eggs, reptiles and amphibians. As you can tell, badgers are considered carnivores, and belong to the weasel family. If you were a badger, you would have four short limbs, with sharp claws, a wide head, and fluffy ears! You would have a fur coat anywhere from grey, to tan brown in colour, except for a distinct white stripe that runs from your face, all the way down the middle of your back.
If you were a badger, you would live across America, like in California and Texas, as well as across Canada, in British Columbia, all of the prairie provinces and Ontario. Badgers enjoy a large habitat range and can travel many square kilometres. Within Canada, there are four populations of North American badger subspecies, and for this reason, each has a slightly different habitat. These habitats include grasslands, agricultural areas, steppe and open forests. If you were a badger, you would strike out on your own and explore, as badgers tend to be solitary animals.
If you were a badger, you wouldn’t have many predators or threats to look out for. However, there is one threat that exists for badgers; habitat loss. Habitat loss is by far the largest threat to our badger buddies, and is caused by increased urbanization and agricultural activity.
Earth Rangers is working with the Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) on a restoration project that will enhance badger habitat on a 1,600-hectare property in British Columbia called Kootenay River Ranch. This conservation area is home to some of the country’s remaining American badgers (with fewer than an estimated 4,000 remaining in the wild across Canada), which is why it’s so important we do what we can to make it a safe home for these cute critters! The conservation area contains a huge stretch of open forests and grasslands, and with about 25% of the land already improved through restoration, it’s well on its way to becoming even better badger habitat. NCC is working hard to continue their restoration to return the land back to its characteristic open landscape by doing things like grinding or chipping small trees and scattering woody debris piles, NCC is working to restore the open fire-maintained grasslands and help protect this important badger habitat for years to come – but they can’t do it alone!