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Foods of American Badgers in West-central Minnesota and Southeastern North Dakota During the Duck Nesting Season

Introduction


American badgers (Taxidea taxus) occur throughout the northern Great Plains (Messick, 1987) and are adapted to living in grassland habitat (Messick and Hornocker, 1981; Messick et al., 1981), which also provides cover for nesting ducks. Little information is available on food habits of badgers in the eastern part of the northern Great Plains (Errington, 1937; Snead and Hendrickson, 1942; Jense, 1968) or of the significance of badger predation on nesting waterfowl in this region, which is an important breeding area for ducks. Badgers are opportunistic foragers and consume a wide variety of vertebrates, especially mammals, as well as invertebrates and plant material (Messick and Hornocker, 1981; Lampe, 1982; Long and Killingley, 1983). We determined food habits of badgers from carcasses collected during the duck nesting seasons of 1987 through 1990 in west-central Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota. Our purpose is to report food habits of badgers in this region and to discuss the importance of ducks and duck eggs as badger foods.
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