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The badger is a member of the weasel family and is best known for its digging. Its powerful forelegs and long claws allow it to easily dig ground squirrels and gophers out of their burrows and to dig extensive burrows of its own. Roadways, humans, and packs of dogs are the chief predators of badgers in Indiana, but coyotes may take a few young each spring.

Have you seen a badger?  Help Indiana DNR by Reporting your Badger Sighting.

BadgerGeneral Characteristics

  • Badgers stand low to the ground and weigh approximately 10 – 20 pounds (4.5 – 9 kg) and can reach 35 inches (88.9 cm) in length from nose to tail.
  • Their fur is silver-gray to tan overall in color.
  • Badgers have a distinctive narrow white stripe that runs from their nose over the top of their head.
  • They have white cheeks with a black patch in front of short, erect ears.
  • Badgers are nocturnal, and their presence is often evidenced by extensive diggings rather than actual sightings.

Distribution and Abundance

Indiana is at the eastern edge of the badger’s geographic range. Badgers prefer an open, prairie-type habitat with well-drained soils, but may live anywhere with the right soil, even in agricultural land or forests. Badgers are more commonly found in the northern half of Indiana; however, they have now been reported from nearly 80 Indiana counties, including Posey County to the south. Currently, the most common type of badger sightings comes through reports of roadkill. At this time, little is known about the abundance of Indiana’s badger population, though the population had been expanding from the 1950s through the early 2000s.


Badgers are solitary except during breeding season. Badgers mate in July and early August, but the young do not start developing within the mother's body until February. This is known as delayed implantation. In early spring, a litter of two to five young are born in a grass-lined burrow. Once the young are weaned, they begin to venture outside their burrow on hunting trips. In the fall, after the young have learned to hunt for themselves, they disperse.

Food Habits

Badgers are carnivores, and their primary foods include:

  • Thirteen-lined ground squirrels
  • Moles and gophers
  • Chipmunks and other small rodents
  • Snakes, lizards, and frogs
  • Rabbits
  • Snails
  • Insects and invertebrates
  • Eggs of ground-nesting birds

Badgers will also scavenge carcasses and have been known to store leftovers in a cache to be dug up later.

Viewing Tips

Badgers are mostly nocturnal, or active at night, so can be a real challenge to see for wildlife viewing. Your best bet is to look for signs of a freshly dug den with badger tracks, then use binoculars from a respectful distance around dusk to try to catch a glimpse of one emerging to go hunting. Badgers don’t always come back to the same den each night, so you can’t count on a return visit if a den isn’t fresh. Badgers are diggers, so they prefer soils with a sandy loam component and ground with some slope for easy burrowing, most often in grassy or somewhat open areas where there will be plenty of rodents or moles nearby.  The fields around and between LaSalle Fish & Wildlife Area and Willow Slough Fish & Wildlife Area can be great places to look for badger signs among the Kankakee Sands region of Indiana. The fields in and around Atterbury Fish & Wildlife Area can also be worth keeping an eye our for likely holes that may house a badger.

Conservation and Management

Badgers are classified as a Species of Special Concern in Indiana and are protected by state law. 
Badgers are typically not aggressive unless provoked. Always give a badger space and keep pets leashed or in a kennel with a secure top when outside to prevent negative encounters with any wildlife, including badgers.

Badgers can be helpful because they consume a variety of small mammals that invade homes and barns, but are sometimes considered a problem because of their digging habits. Landowners or lessees can talk to their district wildlife biologist or hire a nuisance wildlife control operator if a badger is causing problems, because special permits are required before a badger can be removed.


Indiana residents having conflicts with badgers can help Indiana DNR collect information by using the wildlife complaint form. This form allows DNR to track reports of conflicts for key species of interest. This form will not submit a permit application on your behalf if you want to remove an animal causing a problem and it should not be used to submit sightings of badgers. To learn about removal options, contact your local district wildlife biologist. DNR appreciates the support of Indiana residents in helping us collect better information about wildlife conflicts.

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