Badgers are one of Missouri’s most unique native mammals, being the only member of the weasel family indigenous to the state. These nocturnal creatures have long, pointed faces and black and white stripes running along their backs, giving them a distinctive look compared to other animals in their habitats.
While badgers live primarily in western Missouri’s grasslands or hybrid prairie ecosystems, they have been known to also migrate as far east as Dunklin County in search of food.
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In Missouri, badgers can be found in various habitats throughout the state such as prairies and open grasslands, where ground squirrels and other burrowing creatures make up their principal diet. They also flourish in croplands, sand prairies, fields, pastures, nearby residential areas, parks and farms. Their unique adaptability allows them to take advantage of a variety of living spaces
Badgers in Missouri 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 in Missouri 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 Missouri are quite distinct and interesting in their colouring schemes. They are mostly composed of a grey hue, with a black band accompanied by a white tip found on their guard hairs for added texture.
Size, Lifespan and Weight
Badgers 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 Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri?
Yes, they are present. But they are uncommon and can be seen in the western and southern parts of the state near the Missouri River.
Are badgers protected in Missouri?
Yes, they are protected. But they can be trapped during the trapping season. (Ref)
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