Animals -> Mammals -> Furbearers -> Badger


American badger is reported to have been consumed by the Plains Ojibwa (Chippewa) Turtle Mountain Band, Plains Cree, Saskatchewan Red Earth Cree, Kalispel, Spokane and Salish of the Middle Columbia River [1-6]. The Plains Ojibwa Turtle Mountain Band ate badger when larger game could not be caught [1]. The Kalispel also ate badger on occasion [2]. St. Lawrence River Montagnais were reported to eat “badger”, but this is unlikely to have involved American Badgers which are restricted to central and western North America [7].

The Plains Ojibwa Turtle Mountain Band hunted badger for its fur, which was traded for man-made articles. In the 1950s, badger trapping for fur was an economic resource for many families during winter. Hunters would migrate from the plains to partially wooded areas to trap the animal. In earlier times, badgers were trapped using deadfalls, but these were later replaced with steel traps [1]. The Middle Columbia River Salish used a wide variety of methods to capture badger, such as spears, bows and arrows, deadfalls, traps, and snares positioned over game trails [5]. The Plains Cree used a deadfall, which consisted of a beam attached to one end of a thong, the other end of the thong being joined to a baited trigger. As soon as the trigger was disturbed, the beam was released and trapped or killed the animal [3]. The Spokane used traps and snares; these were positioned over game trails but never at springs because it was considered disrespectful. They would sing over the traps and snares to ensure success [6].


1.         Howard JH: The Plains Ojibwa or Bungi: Hunters and Warriors of the Northern Prairies with special reference to the Turtle Mountain Band, vol. Series: Anthropological papers (no.1). Vemilion, South Dakota: South Dakota Musem, University of South Dakota; 1965.

2.         Lahren SL, Jr.: Kalispel. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 283-288.

3.         Mandelbaum DG: The Plains Cree: An Ethnographic, Historical, and Comparative Study, vol. 1st edition. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center; 1979.

4.         Meyer D: Appendix I: Plants, Animals and Climate; Appendix IV: Subsistence-Settlement Patterns. In: The Red Earth Crees, 1860-1960. Volume 1st edition, edn.: National Musem of Man Mercury Series; 1985: 175-185-200-223.

5.         Miller J: Middle Columbia River Salishans. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 253-270.

6.         Ross JA: Spokane. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 271-282.

7.         Rogers ES, Leacock E: Montagnais-Naskapi. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 6: Subarctic. edn. Edited by Helm J. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1981: 169-189.



The American badger (Taxidea taxus) is a medium-sized mammalian carnivore occurring in southwestern Canada and throughout most United States, except for some more eastern states. They are not very abundant and are protected by law in British Columbia.

Badgers are one of the largest members of the mustelid family, including weasels, wolverine (Gulo gulo), American mink (Neovison vison), American marten (Martes americana), fisher (Martes pennanti), and otter species. Like other mustelids, the American badger has dense fur, but not highly prized in the fur industry, long canines, rounded ears, and short limbs. They are bulkier than most other weasels, adults typically weighing 8 kg, and have the shape of a small bear, being more adapted to dig preys out of their burrows than entering to catch them. They are grayish above and yellowish white under and have a bold black and white facial mask.

Unlike most other mustelids, they spent a lot of their time underground and hibernate during the winter. They feed mostly on burrowing rodents, but also on small birds, snakes, toads, and frogs. They can live for up to 14 years, but rarely live over 2 years old, and were persecuted by human for a long time.


Wilson DE, Ruff S: The Smithsonian book of North American mammals. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press; 1999.


Images provided below were obtained from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - North American Mammals. Available from
American badger - typical coat pattern, right; southwestern variant with longer dorsal stripe, left
Credit: painting by Consie Powell from Kays and Wilson's Mammals of North America, © Princeton University Press (2002)
Credit: Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy — Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International — CABS, World Wildlife Fund — US, and Environment Canada — WILDSPACE.
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