American badgers are reclusive animals native to northern Illinois, and they are excellent diggers. The word badger comes from the French word "bêcheur," which means just what a badger is: "a digger."
There are European badgers as well, but there are some notable differences between European and American badgers. European badgers have a much more elongated face, and they also hibernate, unlike American badgers. Since American badgers don't hibernate, it is more likely to see them during the winter. American badgers go through periods of torpor (temporary, hibernation-like sleep) for periods of a day or more, but usually they are relatively active during the winter.
Badgers live in large, extensive burrows called setts. Their enormous claws help with their digging, and they often excavate literal tons of soil to make a sett. They also are not opposed to living in a burrow that has already been dug and abandoned, and they often live together with coyotes. They form a mutually beneficial partnership and use their different adaptations (fast running and digging) to help catch prey and drive out pests from the burrow. Badgers are found most often in areas without trees, and you might encounter one if you walk through an Illinois prairie at night. They are nocturnal, so during the day you can only see the entrance to their burrow, but if you come out at night and are lucky, you might see a badger.
Unlike European badgers, American badgers tend to live on their own in their burrow (with the exception of coyotes). European badgers tend to form very large family groups, and as a result, their setts are much larger than American badgers. American badgers are also notably more aggressive than European badgers, although badgers as a whole are known for their vicious streak (if provoked). American badger claws can get quite large, up to around three inches long. This assists in their digging, the long and thick claws operating as a sort of rake or hoe. Also, if you go looking for a badger, it is likely you will see one back-first, since they excavate dirt from their setts while moving backward.
Unfortunately, American badgers are classified as an endangered species, as well as a "species of special concern." The badger population might be declining because suitable land for them is becoming increasingly common. It is much harder for a badger to live in an industrialized area, and since people keep building and expanding their towns, prairie areas in Illinois are also declining. Badgers also can't live in farm fields, since the soil is heavily disrupted by machinery and noise. Hopefully they will continue to have enough habitat to survive as a species, but if Americans keep industrializing, it's unlikely that will be the case forever.