Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife Management


A study was initiated in 1966 to determine food habits and energy utilization of badgers. Digestive tracts were collected in eastern South Dakota from November 1966 to November 1967. A male and a female badger were used for two energy-balance and three digestion trials. Ground squirrels, mice and rabbits were found to be the most important mammal foods eaten. Birds and eggs were only eaten during spring and summer. Toads and grains were important fall foods. Insects were eaten throughout the year but usually only in trace amounts. However, when available, badgers ate large quantities of beetles and ground-nesting bees. Badgers appeared to be opportunists in selecting their foods. Energy-balance trials showed energy maintenance requirements of 12-week old badgers decreased as much as 62 percent as animals reached maturity. Digestibility of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibers varied between badgers and among diets. Fats were highly digestible. When total digestible calories were used as a measure of digestibility, there was little difference in capacity between badgers to digest the mink feed, deer muscle, cottontail rabbit and ground squirrel diets. Badgers remained in good condition during penned trials without a source of water other than contained in feeds. Ground squirrels were believed to be an important source for fall fat storage in badgers since they constitute a high proportion of the diet, are high in fat content and are readily digested.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Animals -- Food


Includes bibliographical references (pages 38-39)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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