One of my favorite travel stories involves a very dark two-lane highway in western New Mexico, a wolf warning sign, an elk stuck in a barbed wire fence, and more badgers than you can shake a stick at.

We were visiting my New Mexico relatives. We got there very late--1 AM to be exact. And NM State Highway 12 offered up a warning sign that wolves were nearby and for drivers to stay in their vehicles. We saw an elk work its way out of a fence. Then, there were all those badgers which my uncle told me to stay away from. No problem, Uncle Charles. Way ahead of you.

Are There Badgers in Kentucky?

But that's New Mexico. I wasn't too surprised to see them, but their NUMBERS were a bit jarring. They just kept running across that dark highway. That's not likely to happen in Kentucky, but if you were to SEE a badger in the Commonwealth, it shouldn't come as a TOTAL shock. And Kentucky Living tells us why (while providing some pretty surprising info about my immediate area):

Badgers are apparently still here, says biologist Zach Couch of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, but there is no evidence of a sizeable population beyond an occasional sighting or road kill. Nearly all the reports have been in counties bordering Indiana, where badgers were known to be extending their range. Most recent sightings in Kentucky have been in the vicinity of Owensboro.

I began looking into the presence of badgers in Kentucky because of an exhibit I saw at the Owensboro Museum of Science & History. In one section, there were stuffed examples of wildlife you might encounter in our region. I'd seen or heard about sightings of every creature on display until I got to the badger...the American badger, to be exact.

The American Badger -- the Species You'll Find in KY...Maybe

Ah...a face only a mother could love.

Frankly, I have ZERO problems with not having a good chance to run into any kind of a badger, and the Kentucky State Wildlife Action Plan backs that up. In fact, the American badger page reveals very little.

Very little data exists for the species. Additional survey work is required to assess American Badger status in Kentucky. Recent records from Warren and Daviess Counties may indicate an expansion of the species into portions of Kentucky.

So, if you see a badger, leave it alone. They won't mess with you if you don't mess with them. (Fingers crossed.)

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