American badger (Taxidea taxus) is a solitary, medium-sized, common but seldom seen, carnivorous mammal. It is a solitary animal, active mostly at night but also often during the day, especially in early morning. It has a home range of about 1 square mile in which it may have up to 46 burrows. It is a good digger, the only mammal that can dig out pocket gophers. It eats mostly ground squirrels and pocket gophers, but also voles, mice, reptiles (including rattlesnakes), amphibians, ground-nesting birds and their eggs, insects, and other invertebrates.
Badgers are easily recognized. The low, flattish profile and white middorsal head stripe are diagnostic. The common name is thought to refer to the black “badge”-shaped markings on their cheeks. There are four, fifteen, or twenty-one subspecies of badger in North America, depending on who you ask. All sources recognize the two subspecies found in Minnesota. Common badger, the largest subspecies, is found in the western border counties. Jackson’s badger, typically darker and smaller, is found in the remainder of the state.