Relax with a Bathing Badger

My personal wildlife watching obsession started at my house near Saguaro National Park last summer with a mysterious paw print I found in a garden water bowl. Wildlife cameras soon confirmed our suspicion that it was an American badger track. While extremely rare in Saguaro National Park, badgers are present in the Sonoran Desert just west of the Rincon Mountains.

With the aid of trail cameras focused on a wildlife water bowl in our front yard and in the wash nearby, we’ve seen a handful of nocturnal badgers waddle by for a drink of water over the last year. Last month a mother badger came for a nighttime drink with two offspring a few times and I didn’t think it could get any better than. But I was wrong and on Sunday afternoon we had a real treat—a daytime bathing badger.

This badger braved the Sonoran Desert mid-afternoon sun for a lounge in our water bowl. After rolling around and stretching out on its back with paws up for a bit, it briefly wandered off only to return again for another soak. When it finally finished the bath, it rolled over just beyond view of the camera to get nice and sandy again before trotting south. My neighbor saw the wet badger wander through his backyard a few minutes later, happily sticking its head in a hole searching for food and running along with its tail up.

Badgers are so rarely seen that their water relaxation habitats are largely unknown! What we can say for sure now is that badgers must understand selfcare.

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