A little about badgers in our wild countryside
The badger is Britain's most dinstinctive animal, easily recognised by its black and white face, but sadly most people only see one when it is killed on the road. Badgers are shy and nocturnal,but if you persevere it is not too difficult to see them in their natural surroundings. Members of the badger group can help you to learn how to find badgers and to watch them.
Although they are big and strong badgers eat mainly earthworms, insects and small mammals. They forage at night on pastures and grassland. In autumn they dig out wasps' nests and eat ripe fruits. Badgers search for their food using their noses. They have a really superb sense of smell. It is hundreds of times better than ours. Badgers live together in underground tunnels and chambers that they dig with their powerful legs and long claws. The entrance holes are much bigger than rabbit holes or fox earths and have big heaps of excavated soil. Badgers often clean out their home, known as a sett. They take dry vegetation into their sleeping chambers and sometimes bring it out to air.
If you find a badger sett please let us know by reporting it to us.
Badgers in this country live in small family groups. One male badger (boar) is dominant and defends the territory against other badgers. The picture on the left shows a dominant boar with chewed ears and scars. He got these through fighting. Usually each clan has only one or two sows that breed and each sow has just two or three cubs.
and their cubs.
Although badgers mate at any time of the year cubs are usually born around February. They are born blind but already have their black and white stripes. The cubs stay underground in a chamber lined with dry vegetation for bedding for the first two months of their life.
When they first venture above ground in April they stay close to their mother and she is very protective of them. She will carry them back into the sett by the scruff of the neck if she thinks there is danger. Later she takes them round their territory, so they can learn the best places for food. They grow rapidly and by winter they are almost as big as the adults and able to find their own food. Sadly many cubs die in their first year, particularly when there is a shortage of earthworms for food during a dry spell.
Sometimes a badger mother is killed on the road when her cubs still need to suckle. If anyone finds a dead sow who is producing milk they should immediately contact the badger group with its exact location. We can then trace the sett and try to help the orphaned cubs.