Badger Finds a New Home
May 19, 2006 a call came in to the Nature Center about a baby
badger that had been found lying next to its dead mother near a
highway. Being one of the Northland volunteers, I got a
call. Yeah, right, we all thought, probably a groundhog or
even an opossum. But sure enough it was a young badger.
Even at this young age the baby badger was hissing and huffing
and carrying on, acting like a miniature version of how we all
expect a badger to act.
quick reading of the badger section in “The Wild Mammals of
Missouri” by Charles and Elizabeth Schwartz brought me up to
speed on the species. One surprising statement was that
badgers make good pets if taken when young. With this
knowledge, I knew I needed to be careful to prevent any close
bonding or socialization as he grew.
eventually determined he was between six and eight weeks old.
His eyes were open and baby teeth were just beginning to erupt.
He was definitely a “he” as the sexes are easily distinguishable
by their private parts. He took to syringe
of formula right away, and soon moved to soaked puppy chow.
He resided in my kitchen about three weeks before going to an
outside cage. His meals then consisted of puppy chow and
cat chow and dead mice, bunnies, squirrels and ducks.
“Bucky,” as he was affectionately known, was just a delightful
creature and very entertaining. From my window I could
watch him jumping and rolling around, playing with objects in
his pen. I wish I had more pictures of his antics.
He LOVED his crate/den, and played with it like a toy. He
would push it around and get under it and flip it over and then
climb on top of it. He would knock it around until he had
it sitting sideways in his swimming pool. He would gather
up all his food bowls (usually four) and take them into his
crate. He mostly backed into his crate like he would back
into a burrow in the wild. He preferred to have the crate
upside down so the air vent holes were at the bottom.
During the hot days of summer he would sit in his swimming pool.
had heard badgers were food aggressive, and he sure was.
When I went to feed him, he would chase the
bowls around with his butt until he pinned them up against
He did sleep a lot during the day, as badgers are mostly
nocturnal. He loved to sleep in his crate, but also slept
flat out on the cage floor. I’m probably one of very few
people who has seen the underside of a badger on a routine
August 31st Bucky Badger began his big adventure in
the wild. He was released into an excellent habitat for
badgers, near a creek running through several pastures with
ponds and cornfields and woods nearby. I already miss
watching him play out my window. Maybe next year...
and photos by a