The badgermole is an enormous blind mammal native to the Earth Kingdom. Living mostly underground, it was the first creature to master earthbending and later taught humans the art. Notably, Toph Beifong was one of those taught by badgermoles.
Oma and Shu were the first humans to be taught earthbending by the badgermoles. The two lovers and the badgermoles created a maze of tunnels through the mountains dividing their two villages, allowing them to meet in secret. The tunnels' ceilings were embedded with crystals that would only glow in total darkness and lead to the tunnels' exit.
Toph also learned the bending art from badgermoles. Once, when she was a child, she ran away from home and encountered them in a cave. According to her, their earthbending was not merely centered around fighting, but an extension of their senses and their way of interacting with the world. She learned earthbending through copying the badgermoles' movements while navigating the tunnels.
Several years later, Team Avatar met a group of nomads who brought them to the Cave of Two Lovers, a passage under the Kolau Mountains. Eventually, Team Avatar and their companions got lost in these caverns as the badgermoles were using earthbending to alter the layout of the underground network. After being separated from the rest of the group, Sokka, Chong, Moku, and the other nomads encountered these creatures, who initially demonstrated aggressive bending. However, they serenaded the badgermoles with music and were able to ride them out of the cave.
Badgermoles are enormous in size and have brown fur with one white stripe between two black ones running down their backs and white, mask-like patches on their faces. They have long tails and five claws on each paw. Badgermoles use their noses and sensitive whiskers to inspect objects in front of them. Although they have vestigial eyes, evolutionary leftovers from long-forgotten times when they lived above ground, badgermoles are more-or-less blind; their earthbending abilities allow them to feel the presence of their surroundings in recompense.
Badgermoles use their tongues to lick in order to show their affection, an action seen when Toph first met them. They enjoy hearing music, which seems to put them in an almost tranquil state in which one can get them to do nearly anything. Badgermoles seem to be the natural predator of the wolfbats. These creatures use earthbending to form tunnels and travel underground, where they live and hunt for prey.
When fully and properly tamed, badgermoles can be used as beasts of burden and can perform tasks such as paving pathways or clearing stone debris, such as during the Earth Rumble tournament.
The badgermole resembles a cross between the American badger and the common mole. The facial coloring and white back stripe of the badgermole resemble the badger whereas its claws, tail, and eyes are indicative of the mole's. Both animals are among the best diggers in the animal kingdom, badgers being powerful diggers that can dig through the toughest earth, and moles being quick diggers, almost "swimming" through the earth.
Badgermoles are blind like Toph, so they were able to understand each other well, and in return taught Toph how to earthbend.
In Earth Rumble VI, an underground earthbending tournament held in a giant earthen arena in Gaoling, badgermoles were used to clear the ring of rocks.
Badgermoles are the only original animal benders that are not known to be a companion to an Avatar. Roku had Fang, a dragon, as a lifelong friend, and Aang had Appa, a sky bison.
They are also the only original animal benders that are not known to have been killed substantially by the Fire Nation; the dragons were killed for glory and pride, with only two known survivors, and many sky bison were killed along with the Air Nomads during the Air Nomad Genocide.
Two bagdermole statues are found outside the Earth King's palace. These stone sculptures were launched at Team Avatar by the Royal Earthbender Guards when the Avatar and his friends attempted to break into the Royal Palace.
Ornate badgermole statues are also found in the ruins of Taku.
Kyoshi earthbent two statues of badgermoles whilst in the Avatar State in a vision given to Aang by Roku.