by Loren and Melissa Shelton, Critter-Photography Team
Are there badgers in your backyard? Maybe? Close enough, probably, if you live on the outskirts of town.
Most Arizonans have probably never seen one, and many don’t realize there are badgers in Arizona, let alone Pinal County.
As a young man I grew up with my dad who was an avid outdoorsman, and I had the opportunity to see many. The American badger is an elusive, nocturnal animal in the weasel family, and unless you’re out looking, chances are you’ll never encounter one.
My wife and I explore the desert nightly in our Side by Side, and we get to see things a lot of folks don’t, including raccoons that also live here and are able to spread out thanks to the canal systems we have.
I hadn’t seen a badger in 20 years until my wife and I recently were out and came across two badgers hanging out in the entrance to a hole they were digging. They seemed quite unperturbed by our presence. I got some great video I shared on my Facebook page. It was a lot of fun to see them within a mile of our home.
Amazingly enough, we have had several encounters in the last few weeks. They burrow for dens and to hunt rodents, and we had friends recently post their encounter watching a couple of badgers digging alongside the main road while they watched.
You can find badgers anywhere they can dig, and they certainly have lots of areas to dig in Pinal County. They require open spaces and usually mind their own business, shuffling away if you see one. But, they will stand their ground if approached so if you’re out walking with your dogs and are fortunate enough to see one, enjoy it from a distance.
According to the latest data there is a badger for every square mile of habitable area. They eat rodents, snakes, birds, and even burrowing owls.
Sure seems like all this rain has got animals moving and has made for some good digging opportunities for the badgers. Not sure why the sudden proliferation of sightings in our area, but we sure are enjoying them.
Keep your eyes open, and you may enjoy one of these encounters