What Do Badgers Eat? Ultimate Guide


what-do-badgers-eat

You may be interested in learning about the diet of a badger. They can have diverse diets that vary depending on their local region and environment. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at their preferred diet and discuss how they use their abilities to find food for themselves while out in the wilderness.

What Do Badgers Eat?

Badger’s eat squirrels, rodents, gophers, moles, mice, voles, prairie dogs, and birds. Badgers also eat fruit seeds, roots, bulbs, earthworms, grubs, insect larvae, beetles, snails, and more. Badgers are opportunistic and will also feed on carrion, eggs, fish, bees, honeycombs, and reptiles.

They have sharp claws that allow them to dig under the surface where many of these rodents live. These attributes allow them to take advantage of their environment and this is one of the reasons that they have managed to prosper in the wilderness. 

Badgers heavily rely on their hunting ability to stay alive throughout their lifespan. They have an average lifespan of around a decade, although some can live longer depending on their local environment and overall health. A badger’s diet can have a large impact on their long-term health and survival. 

Are Badgers Omnivores?

Badgers are omnivores that eat meat/small game animals such as rodents, as well as fruits, vegetables, roots, bulbs, reptiles, birds, and insects. While badgers are carnivorous, they eat a much larger variety of different kinds of food. Source.

Primarily a badger’s diet is going to be rodents, earthworms, grubs, and vegetation that they can forage, such as bulbs and roots. Some of these food sources are seasonal, so their diet will change with the seasons.

Badger Hunting Attributes

One survival trait that many badgers develop as they grow up is the ability to dig for their food. This primarily includes small rodents, worms, and grubs. Badgers generally like to eat gophers, squirrels, and weasels, but their diet is diverse and can include other animals as well. 

Badgers usually come out in the middle of the night and they are nocturnal. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t see them in the middle of the day though. Several badgers have been seen hunting for their meal in the daytime, but it can really depend on the specific environment. Many animals have adapted to become crepuscular.

Badgers Hunting with Coyotes | Coordinated Hunting

One of the really cool things about badgers is that they can occasionally hunt with other animals in coordination. Badgers and coyotes are common allies out in the wilderness and are willing to use their skill sets in coordination in order to hunt their prey. Badgers have been observed hunting with animals such as coyotes for several years. By working together, badgers and coyotes are improving their odds of having a successful hunt and it usually works out in the end. 

Not all animals are capable of coordinated hunting, which is what makes this connection between animals like badgers and coyotes so unique. Hunting is made easier for both animals by working together, which is why coyotes and badgers will not attack each other.

Coordinated hunting doesn’t happen very often and it would be incredibly rare to observe, but badgers are certainly willing to hunt in coordination if it means that they may have an opportunity at a successful hunt. Without this rare occurrence, badgers prefer to remain solitary as much as possible.

It’s impossible to determine an exact percentage, but it is believed that coordinated hunting helps coyotes and badgers find meals by a significant margin compared to if they simply hunted alone. 

How Much Does A Badger Need To Eat Per Day?

Just like most other animals in the wilderness, badgers need to eat on a regular schedule in order to have the energy to survive. Badgers consume about a pound of food per day, but this is not guaranteed in the wilderness. 

There are some days where a badger may not eat quite enough, while other days they might have a successful hunt and have more food than they can consume. Badgers are seasonal animals and spend most of their time preparing for their next meal. They try to stay out of danger and focus on surviving by hunting and roaming around to find meals in the wilderness. 

They don’t take risks out in the wilderness in order to get a meal either, they are patient animals and they will use their instincts to hunt for small rodents. As intelligent animals, badger’s are adaptable and are willing to eat a wide collection of food in order to maintain their diet. 

What is a Badgers Favorite Food?

Badgers are omnivores, which means they eat meat as well as fruits and vegetables. They prefer to dig for their food, so their favorite meal would be things like earthworms, rodents, and roots.

Badgers favorite foods

  • Rodents
  • Earthworms
  • Lizards
  • Eggs
  • Frogs
  • Roots
  • Seeds
  • Berries

Even though badgers may have a favorite food, they still must hunt and have a good hunting source, otherwise, they have to be more opportunistic, and take whatever they can find in the wild, including carrion (dead animals.)

Do Badgers Save Food For The Future?

It’s not a common practice for badgers, but occasionally they do cache their food for a period in the future. They are constantly adapting to their environment and sometimes that means that saving food for later can be their best option. 

One of the reasons that a badger might save food is due to unfamiliarity in their local environment or if they can sense that bad weather is ahead. For example, a badger may cache food if they can sense a storm approaching their location. Source.

Do Badgers Eat Cats?

Since badgers hunt small game animals, many people wonder if badgers eat house cats. Badgers prefer an easy kill, with no fight. The chances of a badger trying to prey on cats are very slim. They might prey on kittens if they were unattended for long enough and the opportunity presented itself.

The same goes for large cats such as bobcats and mountain lions. These cats would put up a fight and the badger would not be able to survive that kind of altercation. In the wild animals know what to prey on, and what to avoid.

See our article for Are Badgers Dangerous here.

Do Badgers Eat Fruit?

Badgers are not very picky when it comes to eating. They will eat pretty much anything they can kill or forage. Badgers eat fruits, fruit seeds, and other types of bulbs and vegetation. Fruit is something that a badger would eat seasonally since fruit only grows during certain seasons.

During the winter months, badgers are going to rely on rodents, grubs, and some types of buried bulbs and roots, such as beetroots. They will also eat potatoes if they manage to find any.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the diet of a badger can highlight several aspects of their life. They are adaptable creatures with the simple desire to survive in the wilderness. There are no guarantees for their next meal, which is why badgers spend most of their time hunting. 

In desperate times, they are willing to team up with coyotes and coordinate together in order to hunt for food. The attributes that we’ve discussed in this guide are very interesting, especially when you consider the fact that badgers are so self-dependent. From the moment they are born, they are constantly learning how to survive. Understanding how to hunt for food is potentially one of the most important skills that a young mature badger will learn in the wilderness.

Chad Fox

Chad Fox is an outdoorsman who loves spending time in nature, working on ranches in Texas, and observing wildlife.

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