Badgers are an adorable and often overlooked animal in Maine. As the smallest carnivore native to the state, they spend most of their time searching for prey like mice and voles. They dig intricate burrows to build nests and rest in during the day and live alone except during times of mating or raising young. To help protect these unique animals, Maine has multiple regulations in place that restrict the hunting and trapping of badgers within its borders.
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Badgers in Maine have an interesting habitat that consists of a network of underground tunnels and chambers built in wooded clearings. The complex tunnels and dens are often as large as 35 feet in length and can span large areas, often taking up to several weeks or months to build. Badgers prefer well-drained, hilly soil near small fields, and can make their homes among a variety of plant types including shrubs, trees, grasses and roots—allowing them to quickly dig into these plants while searching for food.
Badgers are omnivores, meaning that they eat both plants and animals to get their nutrients. Their diet consists of insects, small animals like rodents, birds, eggs and reptiles, as well as a variety of plant matter such as fruits, roots, tubers and grasses. Badgers also enjoy a range of other food items like earthworms and even deer carcasses they come across in the wild. To hunt effectively in their nocturnal lifestyle, badgers have strong front claws and sharp teeth which they use to take down their prey. All these sources of food allow badgers to stay healthy in their diverse habitats throughout the world.
Badgers in Maine have quite a range of colours. The back and flanks vary from grey to reddish, while the ventral, or underside, is buffy. However, despite the variation in colour, the badger’s face remains distinct no matter the individual animal’s colouration.
Size, Lifespan and Weight
Badgers in Maine are usually between 24-30 inches in length, have an average weight of roughly 15-25 pounds, and can live for up to 9 years in the wild. However, some badger species can live up to 16 years in captivity.
Badgers in Maine face numerous predators in the wild, but their main enemy is the fox. Studies have shown that foxes are responsible for up to 90% of badger cub mortality and can be particularly aggressive during the spring cubbing season. Other wild predators include coyotes, wolves, raptors such as golden eagles and red-tailed hawks, dogs, weasels and various snakes.
Badgers in Maine reproduce by mating with the opposite sex, typically after a courtship period.
When successful mating has occurred, the female badger will produce a litter of three or four cubs approximately seven weeks later. The cubs are born blind and helpless, relying entirely on the care and protection of their parents.
They are weaned between 6-8 weeks after birth and will live in the same den until they are independent enough to move out and find their own territory at around eight months of age. Although badgers can mate year-round, most litters are born during spring or early summer so that the cubs can take advantage of warmer weather and an abundance of food resources before winter arrives.
Are there badgers in Maine?
Yes, they are present in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and more.
Growing up enjoying the beauty of my village, a good passion for nature developed in me from childhood. Following my passion for the natural world, I have chosen zoology for my graduation, during my undergraduate degree, I participated in many nature trails, bird watching, rescues, training for wildlife conservation, workshop, and seminars on biodiversity. I have a keen interest in invertebrate biology, herpetology, and ornithology. Primary interests include studies on taxonomy, ecology, habitat and behavior.