All about Badgers
Badgers are members of the same family as stoats and weasels, the mustelids. They eat both plants and animals, but mainly feed on earthworms and leatherjackets (the larvae of daddy long legs).
Badgers are commonly found in the open countryside, but are also to be found on the edges of towns and cities in parks and even cemeteries.They are very distinctive in appearance but, being nocturnal, are not often seen. Sadly, many are seen only when they become road casualties.
What to look for
Badgers are easy to identify. They have a greyish body, dark haired legs and underparts, and a white head with a dark stripe over the eye on both sides. An average adult badger is 69-71cm long and weighs 18kg, making it one of the larger wild animals in Britain today.
Did you know?
- Badgers have strong limbs and sharp clawed feet. These, together with their small head, short neck and long, wedge shaped body makes them excellent diggers.
- Although badgers mainly eat earthworms, they will eat other invertebrates, including slugs and snails. Badgers often also eat small mammals, birds’ eggs and fruit.
- Despite being nocturnal, badgers have poor eyesight. However, this is compensated for by their acute hearing and excellent sense of smell.
- Badgers give birth to between 1 and 5 cubs between January to March. The birth usually takes place in the underground chambers, where the cubs will remain until they are about 8 weeks old.
- Both cattle and badgers can contract bovine tuberculosis and there has been much debate in recent years over whether the culling (reducing numbers) of badgers will decrease the rate of bovine TB in cattle. The Wildlife Trusts are fully aware that TB in cattle is a significant problem for farming in the UK and that urgent action is required to combat the disease. We believe that action to address bovine TB should be based on clear scientific evidence that can be effectively applied in practice. For an up to date statement go to The Wildlife Trusts website: www.wildlifetrusts.org
Urban WildPlaces - amazing wildlife is closer than you think
More amazing footage from the North East Wildlife Trusts Urban WildPlaces project. Catch an otter relaxing on an urban quay with traffic speeding past, a badger sett in the dead of night, hedghogs and foxes, and a curious otter in an urban back garden.
The film was taken as part of the North East Wildlife Trusts WildPlaces project, aiming to raise awareness of urban wildlife. If you like this film…
Badgers at Idle Valley
A special trip camera set up at Idle Valley Nature Reserve recorded some footage of some European Badgers (Meles meles)
Visit http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/ for more information on the work of the Wildlife Trust
Wildlife Watch - Badgers in a garden
Watch badgers snuffling round a garden in Northumberland.
You can watch more videos like this (of otters, hedgehogs, mice, shrews and more) here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=WildPlacesNE#p/u. This is an urban wildlife project run by The North East Wildlife Trusts.
The Badgers Act 1973, amended by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and replaced again by the Badgers Act 1992, means that badgers and their setts are now fully protected by law.
The reason for the badger's success is its amazing adaptability to different habitats such as woods, copses, hedgerows, quarries, sea cliffs and moorland.
Where to see
Badgers are scattered around Great Britain, mostly in the south and south-western counties of England and Wales, but are also found in Nottinghamshire.
They live in setts which are a series of tunnels and miniature caves dug underground. They use debris such as grass and leaves as bedding. Occasionally they will make setts on the embankments of canals, railways and roads, mines, rubbish dumps, coal tips, in gardens and under roads and buildings.
Although difficult to find above ground, they can be seen foraging at night and are easiest to spot close to their setts.