Badger, a rather short, thickset, fur-bearing mammal. Badgers have extremely powerful forelegs with long claws, which they use to dig their burrows. They are active mainly at night, when they leave their burrows to hunt for food. Badgers are named for the contrasting stripe of fur—the "badge"—on the forehead. The badge may be black or white, depending on the species.

BadgersBadgers have white and black markings on the head and face.

There are nine species of badgers: the American badger, the Eurasian badger, the hog badger, the honey badger, three species of ferret badgers, and two species of stink badgers. The best known and most widespread are the American and the Eurasian badgers.

How Can You Tell It’s a Badger?

A badger has a short, broad body and a short, bushy tail. It has long claws on its feet. Badgers generally have white and black markings on their head and face.

The American badger has gray or reddish fur and a white stripe running up from its nose. The Old World badger is usually gray on its back, but its underside and legs are black. It has a white face with two dark stripes that run up each side of its face, over its eyes.

What Is Special About a Badger’s Body?

Most badgers have a strong, stout body with short legs. Their front legs are especially strong. Their front paws are equipped with long, sharp claws for digging. Badgers need these digging tools because they often dig for their meals. Badgers also live underground and dig large burrows and tunnels.

Badgers have small eyes and ears. Their hearing is good. Their sense of smell is excellent compared to their other senses, but their eyesight is weak.

All badgers have glands near their rumps that produce a strong-smelling liquid called musk. Some types of badgers squirt out musk to drive away attackers. Badgers also use musk to mark their territory or to mark a scent trail to a source of food or other important places. That way they can find their way around using mainly their noses.