As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Badgers are some of the toughest creatures in existence. These short-legged creatures are omnivores in the Mustelidae family. There are 11 different species of badger and all of them are identified by their squat body. The four main groups of badger include the European badger, the ferret badger, the honey badger or ratel and the American badger.
The badger species may look different and some do have behavior variations but they all do shelter underground in burrows called setts and all of them are omnivorous creatures with a very versatile diet.
What do badgers eat?
Badgers are omnivorous creatures which means they consume a variety of foods of both plant and animal origin and these animals also love to devour certain insect types. As you can imagine, their diet is quite diverse.
Their bodies are also designed to flourish in many different situations. The badger has a tough hide that protects it from predators. Their short legs are ideal for digging out creatures from underground and their long heads and small ears allow them to fit into tiny holes so they can extract food.
Badgers can also consume very tough food types. Their long jaws offer resistance to jaw dislocation and enhance their bite grip. The badger’s mouth is also ideal for making twisting movements so they can attack creatures or access hard to reach foods with ease.
These species can consume a huge variety of food types but they do show preference to some food sources like the following;
Badgers love to dig and they will consume all sorts of insects they can find in the ground. They love to eat earthworms, grubs, slugs. Eurasian badger’s diet mostly consists of earthworms. A badger can consume hundreds of worms each night and they are not at all shy about mixing their food consumption.
Badgers also love small animals. They will catch and eat just about any small mammal such as mice, rats, frogs, rabbits, toads and more. While badgers prefer fresh flesh, they will also consume carcasses of any mammal if they come across one. These short-legged creatures are the main predator of hedgehogs because their tough skins are resistant to the sharp needles of hedgehog hides.
They also love to munch on just about any fruits they can find. Badgers love to eat apples, pears, plums, berries and any other type of fruit they can find in natural fields or citrus farms. Badgers are also known to become intoxicated with alcohol after consuming too many rotten fruits.
Nuts and seeds
These omnivores will also consume a great variety of nuts and seeds found inside foods. Their diets include consuming acorns and they are known to pest farms with crops like wheat and sweet corn. Pet badgers are often fed on bird feed mixes.
Roots and plants
While digging out earthworms, badgers might consume all sorts of tree roots they find appealing. They are not shy at all about consuming plants. Their diverse taste for plants and roots often results in the badger being hunted on farms. These creatures can cause quite a lot of damage to crops.
Badgers do love to consume eggs and they are keen climbers. Their sharp claws and short-cropped bodies allow them to climb trees relatively easily so they can reach bird nests. Their tough bodies are also able to withstand relatively high falls from trees.
Being omnivores, these creatures do have quite a few diet variations. They can and will consume just about anything non-poisonous.
Honey badgers tend to be more carnivorous and are incredibly tough. They will seek out beehives to consume honey. These hardy creatures will also attack dangerous creatures like porcupines, venomous snakes and even crocodiles and they are agile enough to overcome these dangerous creatures with ease since they have a high resistance to venom.
How to feed badger?
Badgers are dangerous creatures. They have sharp claws and a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. Wild badgers can also be very aggressive and will lash out whenever they feel threatened. You need to be very careful when feeding a wild badger.
The best way to feed any badger, including tame badgers, is by piling foods in a heap. They love to scatter food about as they consume them, seeking out their favorite pieces to consume first. Piling up badger foods allows you to observe these creatures for longer.
How much does badger eat?
Badgers are not fussy at all as to what they eat. They also tend to be greedy creatures and will feed until completely stuffed every time they find food. They do not hibernate but their activity does reduce during cold winter periods. In autumn the badger may consume more food to reserve fat for wintertime.
Feeding wild badgers
It is important not to feed wild animals too much or too often. All animals including badgers can quickly grow a habit of seeking food from you and can even start relying on humans for food. It is best to feed wild badgers at irregular times, even if you are feeding them at times of great need.
Feeding pet badgers
Pet badgers or badgers kept in enclosures can be fed more regularly. These creatures cannot seek out their own food sources and rely on humans. They need to be fed healthy and diverse meals daily so they get all their required nutrition.
Feeding wild badgers at times of great need
Animals that struggle through times of great need such as drought are often dehydrated and malnourished. If you do happen to find a malnourished badger then it is important not to overfeed. It is critical to introduce foods to starving animals at a very slow rate.
A sudden increase in high fat, protein and glucose levels can cause an electrolyte imbalance resulting in conditions like hypophosphatemia, hypokalemia, and hypomagnesemia. These conditions can cause a lot of complications and usually result in irregular and incredibly aggressive behaviors or even death.
It is always best to consult with a vet before you start feeding a starving badger.
Remember to offer water
All badgers need a steady supply of clean water. They do not consume as much water as some mammals but their bodies still rely on these sources to function.
What do baby badger eat?
Baby badgers are called cubs. Cubs are usually born in underground chambers and will remain there until they are eight weeks old. These cubs are usually born only once a year and every mother can have a litter of 1 – 5 cubs.
Wild baby badgers
Badger cubs will survive this period by feeding milk from their mothers. After 12 weeks, mothers will start to suckle their cubs less and less in the weaning process. At this point, cubs will start to leave the chamber to find their own food. At this point, cubs will follow their mother around so they can learn how to seek food for themselves. At 15 weeks, cubs will start foraging for food on their own.
Orphaned baby badgers
Orphaned baby badgers cannot consume just about any type of milk. They are usually fed specialized milk formula and the milk strength may vary depending on the badger’s size. Newborn badgers are so tiny, they need to be fed with a syringe while older cubs can successfully feed on a baby bottle.
Always consult with a vet to find a suitable milk source for an orphaned baby badger. Wrong milk types can be fatal to these animals. Baby badgers also need to be fed at around 2-hour intervals and the consistency decreases as their consumption increases and as they grow.
From 8 weeks on, badgers can gradually be weaned and you can start introducing foods at this point. Food sources such as fruit pieces and earthworms need to be offered gradually so the orphan cub’s body can adjust to the new food supply.
What do wild badgers eat?
Wild badgers will consume anything they find. When food is plentiful, they are fussier about what they consume and they will give preference to favorite foods. In harsh times, badgers will resolve to available food sources.
Different badger species prefer different foods. European badgers, for example, survive mainly on earthworms. Honey badgers, on the other hand, are more carnivorous and prefer flesh above other food sources. Other badger species are more omnivorous and prefer to consume a variety of foods.
In the wild, badgers will dig their chambers in areas relatively close to plentiful foods. This includes areas where the soil is rich in earthworms or in locations that are rich in animal life so they can catch small animal species.
All in all, the wild badger will consume any suitable food source they can find and they will especially seek out their favorite food sources such as small animals, earthworms and fruits.
What do badgers eat when held captive?
Badgers held in the captive cannot go out and seek their own foods. They rely on humans for food. These animals need to have access to lots of freshwater every day and they need to be fed a healthy nutrient-rich diet daily.
Badgers held in the captive can be fed on a great variety of foods including flesh, insects, fruits, nuts, mixed seed feeds and more. The key here is to offer a variety of foods so your badger can get all the needed nutrition from different foods including proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is also important not to overfeed these badgers.
While held captive, they will continuously return to the feeding area to consume more food out of boredom. They can easily become obese which is unhealthy for their bodies. It is also important to offer lots of play areas to badgers held in captive. These are active creatures that need stimulation and exercise so they can stay healthy.
Do badgers eat cats?
Some badger species like the honey badger do have carnivorous tendencies and most species do consume small animal species. A badger might choose to attack a small kitten although it is unlikely that they should lash out and attack a fully grown cat.
There are however instances when badgers might be dangerous to cats. If food is scarce, species like the honey badger will attack cats. They are not shy at all to consume creatures far more dangerous than cats. It is unlikely for badgers to simply catch a cat. Cats are much quicker and more agile than short and stout badgers.
Badgers will savage the carcasses of any mammal including cats. If you do happen to see a badger consuming a cat then it is more likely the badger came upon the carcass than it is that he caught the cat since badgers are slower.
Are badgers dangerous?
Badgers can be very dangerous. They have sharp claws and razor-sharp teeth. They also have incredibly strong jaws and love to snap down without letting go of their prey. Wild badgers can be very aggressive and will lash out when they feel threatened or cornered. Their tough skins and strong short bodies also make them very hard to ward off when they do attack.
With that said, badgers can become quite tame. Wild badgers that are comfortable with an environment or used to being fed won’t show signs of aggression but it is still best not to get too close to these creatures.
Badgers that are kept in enclosures are known to become incredibly tame and even friendly. Some are even kept as pets in homes. Tame badgers can, however, be very naughty. They are curious creatures and can cause a lot of property damage in and around the house. Those kept in enclosures need to be carefully monitored. They are highly intelligent and are known to be escape artists.
Do badgers bite?
Badgers can be very aggressive. If they feel threatened, they will attack and bite. They have a thick hide but their loose skin allows them to twist around with ease to lash out and bite. When badgers feel threatened, they will make a rattling sound. It is important to never confront, get too close or corner a wild badger and to keep your hands away from fences of enclosed badgers.
Badgers are wonderful and hardy creatures and they can be successfully kept as pets. It is, however, illegal to keep a badger as a pet in certain areas like the United Kingdom.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.