A Most Cooperative Badger

WC spent a few days in the Pahsimeroi Valley, a fairly obscure tributary of the Salmon River, in east central Idaho. With a couple for friends, we spent some time exploring the Pahsimeroi and the Lost River Range, the mountains that bound the Pahsimeroi Valley on the westerly side. One of the highlights of the trip was some quality time with an American Badger.

Badgers are a top tier predator in the sagebrush steppe, a mustelid, a cousin to the wolverine. They don’t occur in Alaska; WC’s prior acquaintance with the species was Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, where Badger was the sensible, genial anthropomorphic animal. The reality is different. But the experience did show WC why Grahame wrote as he did.

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The Pahsimeroi Valley is mostly agricultural, a mix of irrigated farming and grazing, This badger’s den was in a west-facing pasture near the easterly edge of the valley. Over the course of half an hour or so, he checked WC out, and then gave an impressive set of poses.

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This left profile not only shows the weasel lineage; it give a nice view of those heavily muscled shoulders and legs.

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Or maybe you think the right profile is better? For a respectful distance surrounding the badger’s den there was a small army of Piute Ground Squirrels, all on high alert. Ground squirrels are an important part of a badger’s diet.

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And he had to show us his coat. Which, WC thinks you will agree, is pretty fancy.

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We all took a break while the badger dealt with a severe itch ins left ear. He did a careful thorough job scratching.

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And the it apparently all became too exhausting because he slowly eased down.

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Into a drowsy badger puddle.

It was really quite a performance, and WC is grateful for the chance to photograph it.


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