Calgary

Badger family burrows into new home at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

A mother badger and her two cubs are nesting along the trails, moving their den regularly to follow the tasty ground squirrels they eat.

Keep an eye out for a mother and two cubs on your hike

A family of American badger, like this one shown in Saskatchewan's Grasslands National Park, has been seen burrowing in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park northwest of Calgary. (Wayne Lynch/Parks Canada)

A family of badgers has burrowed into their new home of Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park.

A mother badger and her two cubs are nesting along the trails, moving their den regularly to follow the tasty ground squirrels they like to eat.

"Chances are, if you come out and are hiking our park kind of early dusk into dawn, you might be able to see all three of them," park program coordinator Nathan Foy told the Calgary Eyeopener Wednesday.

'Very active' badgers

American badgers are native to Alberta and have distinctive black-and-white facial markings with a line down the bridge of their noses.

They prefer grasslands, especially ones near mountains that are full of small rodents.

The American badger, like this one shown in Grasslands National Park, has distinctive black and white markings, as well as long claws. (Wayne Lynch/Parks Canada)

In nearby British Columbia, the species is considered at risk by the Canadian government. In southern Alberta, badgers have a healthier population but are rarely seen. They're mostly nocturnal.

These ones, though, are different.

"They're highly visible and they're very active," Foy said. "I've seen them."

'Pretty fierce' critters

No one's managed to snag a photo yet because they move quickly and shuffle dens often. The park has a "surplus population of ground squirrels" that's keeping them busy and well fed.

Members of the public are encouraged to check them out, Foy said. He just asks people to keep their dogs on a leash because badgers dig large holes for hunting underground — a temptation for dogs.

Nathan Foy is a program and outreach coordinator with Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation. (Sarah Parker/Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation)

"They can see this very large hole and start digging underneath it," he said. "And then all of a sudden, they have five-centimetre long claws in their face."

The small predator is territorial and, he said, "definitely pretty fierce."

The females can grow to about 8.6 kg, whereas males grow to roughly 7.3 kg.


With files from Lisa Robinson and the Calgary Eyeopener.

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