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Any of eight species of stout-bodied carnivores (family Mustelidae) that possess an anal scent gland, powerful jaws, and large, heavy claws on their forefeet. Most species are brown, black, or gray, with markings on the face or body, and are found in South Asia. Badgers dig to find food and to construct burrows and escape routes. The American badger (Taxidea taxus), the only New World species, lives in the open, dry country of western North America. Badgers feed mostly on small animals, especially rodents. Species may be 9–12 in. (23–30 cm) high and 13–32 in. (33–81 cm) long, excluding the 2- to 10-in. (5– to 23-cm) tail, and may weigh 2–48 lbs (1–22 kg). Badgers can be savage fighters.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on badger, visit Britannica.com.