Orph the Badger

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badger_orphThe Backstage Pass program at the San Diego Zoo has added a new member to its star-studded cast. As far as leading men go, this critter is not one of the typical ones you might think of when you hear that title. Instead, he would be along the lines of a Danny Devito or Joe Pecsi. He’s the punky little street fighter type: a North American badger!

Louella brings Orph close to Backstage Pass participants.

Louella brings Orph close to Backstage Pass participants.

His name is Orph, and Zoo members might remember him from the former Wild Ones show at the Zoo’s Hunte Amphitheatre. He only weighs in at 25 pounds (11 kilograms), but badgers are a BIG package of ferocious tenacity! North American badgers can be found throughout the prairies, savannas, and woodlands of North America. They are omnivores that will eat most anything edible, plant or animal. Their two- inch-long (5-centimeter-long) claws allow them to dig faster than a human with a shovel. They resemble a throw pillow with short stout legs, but that is just the right shape for living in burrows.

Now if you run into one of these beasties while out camping, you need to give it a wide berth. But make your way over to Backstage Pass and you can safely see one up close. You’ll also learn the incredible story of how Orph came to join our stellar cast of rock stars!

Louella Miller is an animal trainer at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Two-toed Sloth Training.