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Badger, American

The American badger (Taxidea taxus) is a broad, robust mammal with a rather flattened body, a thick neck and short, stout legs. It has a short, bushy tail, which is patterned yellow-brown. The American badger has shaggy fur, and its skin is tough and loose, especially around the shoulders, chest and back, enabling it to turn around in small spaces. The fur on the upperside of the American badger can vary from yellow-brown to silver-grey, with a white stripe which runs from the nose to a variable point on the neck or back, depending on the subspecies. The underside also varies between light cream and buff. The American badger has a distinctive facial pattern which is mostly brown, apart from two white cheek areas and a black triangular patch in front of each ear. The neck, chin and chest are all whitish. The backs of the small, rounded ears are black. The front feet of the American badger are bigger than the rear feet and have longer, backward-curving claws, which are used for digging, while the rear feet have short, shovel-like claws. All feet have five toes and are black or dark brown. The female American badger is smaller than the male, although both sexes are similar in appearance. The juvenile American badger is similar to the adult in colouration and patterning. The American badger has a large range extending from Canada, through the USA and into Mexico. American badgers are active all year round, but may sleep for several weeks during severe winter weather. Feeding mainly on small rodents, such as ground squirrels, the American badger usually captures prey by digging up their burrows. American badgers are known to cooperatively hunt ground squirrels with coyotes.

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