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Wisconsin, the badger state

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In 1957, the badger became the state animal of Wisconsin. The nickname “The Badger State” caught on because of the lead miners of the 1800’s who dug tunnels into the hillsides of rural Wisconsin. Though the state animal little is known about them and studies have begun to track and collect information on the species.

They are a tough and aggressive animal of the weasel family. Their distinctive gray, black and white markings are perfect camouflage in their night hunting. The animals are found in sandy fields looking for small mammals and birds, worms, bulbs and reptiles. They dig dens called setts in the hillside.

Badgers are approximately 25 inches long and weight between 19 and 26 pounds depending on the time of the year. They have a thick coat especially around their neck to protect them from predators.

The gestation period is seven months giving birth to one to five offspring. Their life expectancy in captivity is about thirteen years. This has been observed by wild animal refuges taking injured animals from the wild and keeping those individuals who could not be released. These animals are not domesticated and do not make good pets.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee monitoring the Badger population in Wisconsin. Though many studies have been made in the western states and Canada there have been few studies done in the state

Those individuals, who spot a badger, see a tuft of badger hair or find a badger den should contact DNR or UW Milwaukee at (414) 229-4245 and have your name, contact information, and type of sighting readily available. You can also email the university at badger@uwm.edu with more detailed information.

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