Badger dodges dart but falls for cat food trick

SPARKS, Nev. — A badger that wandered into a retail store in northern Nevada dodged a tranquilizer dart and held authorities at bay for about an hour before the teeth-baring critter was lured into a cage with cat food.

No one was hurt in the standoff at the bottled water/convenience store in a residential neighborhood in Sparks, and the badger ultimately was returned to the wild north of Reno, Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said Wednesday.

“Apparently the door was open a bit and this badger just walked in,” Healy told The Associated Press.

“Obviously it was pretty hungry because when they put the cat food in the trap, it went right in,” he said.

A state game warden was called to the Fresca Waterstore on Rock Boulevard near Sparks High School about 3 p.m. on Tuesday along with two assisting officers from Washoe County Animal Services, Healy said.

NDOW photos show the badger baring its teeth through the store’s glass door and later at an animal control officer trying to nab it with a noose on a stick inside the store. The baited cage was brought in after the tranquilizer dart missed.

“Some species we can’t relocate, we have to euthanize them. But this one was determined to be OK,” Healy said.

Lingering drought often sends bears and coyotes into urban areas and that could have played a role in the badger’s adventure, he said.

“They are a lot more common than people realize up here but they are nocturnal — they operate at night, and usually not in areas like this,” Healy said. “It’s the first one I’ve ever deal with and I’ve been here 27 years.”

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