American badgers are relatively large members of the weasel family. Large males may weigh up to 12 kg (26 lb.).
American badgers are not very agile. Their normal gait is a leisurely waddle, but when pursued they run close to the ground with a trotting movement. A special belly gland emits a musky odour when the animal is excited.
Badgers live in self-made burrows, which may be as long as 10 m (32 ft.) and up to 3 m (10 ft.) deep. Enlarged grass-lined sleeping chambers lie at the end of these burrows. Their powerful digging claws on their forefeet are also used in their search for food, which is mostly burrowing rodents such as ground squirrels.
Badgers have been known to hunt rodents in cooperation with coyotes, a rare example of inter-species cooperative hunting behaviour.
Badgers are not true hibernators. They become torpid during winter to save energy, but are quick to emerge on days of thaw.
A powerful fighter, the badger has few non-human predators. Once common on the Canadian prairies, its numbers are now greatly reduced. It is also found in the dry mountain valleys of southeastern British Columbia, and occasionally in the flat, open farmlands of southwestern Ontario.