Crisp the injured badger
25th March - 22nd June 2012
With a nasty fight wounds to the rump

Crisp was in my care for 98 days a very long time. I won’t attempt to try and cover his entire time with me, as his story would run into pages so I will keep it as short as possible.

Crisp aptly named from where he was found on Walkers Farm (Get it?). This badger was discovered by the farmer’s wife three days after hearing the high level of noise being made from two badgers fighting in her garden… The badger took shelter at the back of their garage. There was no way to capture him with the 4 x4 still in the garage. The vehicle was backed out, revealing the badger in the corner. The doors were shut behind me... He tried climbing the wall as I approached, he had no way out and backed into the cage...He smelt terrible. I knew then, the badger had an infection to a wound that I was yet to see. Fortunately for the badger, there were no flies about to lay eggs on the wound.

Once in the cage I checked out where the smell was coming from, found to be from a rump wound. At the time, I had no idea of the severity of the injury until after the BSVH vet had taken a look at him. The badger was anesthetised, fur removed around the wound area and the latter cleaned up. I was shocked by the huge area of the wound. He had been attacked so ferociously, the depth and width of the wound looked like he had been scalped! This was not going to be a quick recovery as I was to find out.
Due to the ferocious nature of the fight, I could not help wondering about the injuries the other badger would have received… if of a similar nature as Crisp, the other badger was heading for an uncomfortable period that risked death from infection and fly strike!

Crisp's Injuries
Click here to show and hide photographic details of his injuries.
These photos are of a graphic nature.

How to look after Crisp’s wound, he was not a badger I wanted to get on the wrong side of… The vet gave him the usual anti- inflammatory and antibiotics and pain killing injection and said keep the wound clean. Easier said than done!

I was advised not to use straw as bedding material, as it would stick to the wound, instead use blankets... I followed this advice for some time having to regularly remove the blankets for washing as they were covered in blood. Weeks went by, no apparent sign of the wound healing. The wound continued to ooze fluids. The vet said that was ok. The healing process became aggravated by the blankets sticking to the wound pulling off the scabs as he moved. Decided to change the blankets, for hay instead rather than straw as the straw was too stiff… He was more comfortable now and he buried himself deep into the hay. He liked his sleeping quarters and would only come out into the other half of the pen to snatch bits of food and drink some water. He would snatch the food nervously and take it back into the sleeping area.
I became concerned, when he stopped coming out to do his business; instead he was doing it in one corner of the sleeping area, which meant getting him to move out into the other half whilst mucking out. He did not like being out of the sleeping area and he would climb the walls of the pen.

Gradually over time he would not be bothered when I opened up his sleeping area to check on his wound he became a laid back badger.
Again I became concerned about his wound the fur had grown over part of it and caused an infection. Another visit to the vets was arranged. He would get anxious and salivate a lot. He seemed to sense he was off for a ride to the vets again and associated the visit with some unpleasant prodding by the vet... The vet decided to keep him in and check over the area of the wound again and see if the badger had enough skin to pull over the wound and stitch in place.
When I returned later, the vet had closed the wound. He said there is a risk that the stitches might pull open. After a couple of weeks an area of stitching parted and again some infection was noticed. This was dealt with antibiotics. Couple of more weeks passed, and another visit to the vet to check on the wound. Some dead tissue was removed with a long reach tweezers through the cage. Crisp was good as gold during the procedure, but became uncomfortable when the vet had to venture in and under the skin round the edges of the wound.
Crisp for the very first time was upset and would lunge and bite whenever my hand was near the cage. He could only see me, as the vet was bending down out of site prodding into the wound. Crisp must have associated me causing him the discomfort. This was to be the last visit to the vets who pointed out what I should look out for with the wound. The skin should be pink all over before releasing him. Couple of more weeks passed and he was ready to go.
Arranged with the farmer a date for release and on Friday evening 22nd June 2012 along with a couple of members, this being there first badger release, transported Crisp to the farm He salivated as usual and messed in the cage again anxious. His reaction was text book, as soon as Crisp was lowered to the ground, he became excited. We carried the cage over the lawn where he had the fight with the other badger and he was clawing away at the floor of the cage. The cage door was opened, the badger had a final sniff and away he ran into the wheat that swayed as he went through… We think he then changed directions down the tram line in the wheat. He did look a picture; well rounded… He weighed in at 12 kilos. My only concern, will he be able to get down the sett tunnel.
The farmer’s wife was surprised that the badger could still pick up the scent after being away for 90 days. I thanked the farmer for allowing us to release Crisp back at the farm and we left satisfied that at last Crisp’s confinement in captivity was finally over and he was free again. I think any other badger that encounters him at his current size will think twice at challenging him… Crisp looked a formidable badger.
If I come upon an injured badger with such a large rump area of injuries again, I would advocate the vet close the wound with stitches. This would aid recovery and reduce the length in captivity. Also noteably, he had been scalped that meant no fur would ever grow back over the wound. Pulling the skin down to the top of his tail meant bringing down the fur too, and in time the fur would grow normally covering the whole area of the rump again and you would never know the injuries he had.
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