A phone call came in from a local resident Eddie Day of Thorley Park saying that he had a badger in his garage! Eddie noticed the badger outside his house on his CCTV camera. The badger headed towards his open garage and went in and settled down in the corner. Derek the groups field officer arrived as soon as he could around 15 minutes after being informed that a badger needed his help, and when he walked into the garage the smell from the badger was awful; it was apparent that the poor badger had a wound infection of some kind.
The badger was quite calm lying in the corner of the garage, but soon became pretty lively when the cage was positioned behind him and a towel thrown over his head in an effort to calm the badger prior to getting him to go into the cage. The carrying cage, which was of the pet carrier type, was not suitable and he tried to claw his way back out. Derek had to drive back home with the badger to quickly transfer him into a crush cage for his own safety and then he took him to Bishop's Stortford Veterinary Hospital. The vet had a look at the badger whilst still in vehicle.
It was also the first time that Derek got a good look at the poor badger’s injuries. He had nasty fight wounds from another badger on both sides of the jaw and neck. Part of his lip had been bitten off in a half moon shape. The vet injected some antibiotics and at Derek’s request, the Vet also administered Frontline to kill the numerous ticks that were in his ears and around the eyes feeding on him. To help Ed, (as the badger was nicknamed after Eddie) recover from his injuries; he was on a course of Synulox 250mg – antibiotics, half a tablet twice a day in his food.
During his recuperation period, his injuries were checked to see if the wounds were drying up; the vet said if no improvement, to bring him back in and they will check him over and clean the wounds. The wound started oozing fluids; arrangements were made to take the badger in to the vets to have the wounds cleaned and the ticks removed… Later that day, after the badger had recovered from his sleep under anaesthetic; the badger was taken back to his recovery pen... Derek had no idea as to the extent of the injuries until he had a look at the pictures the vet had taken now that the fur had been clipped to expose and clean the wounds and to make sure, all the ticks were removed and (there were lots of ticks!) see pictures below; Ed had indeed been through a tough fight and lost. He must have been roaming around for days if not weeks and every day, his wounds becoming more infected: Fortunately for him, there were no fly’s around in March, to lay eggs on his wounds, sparing him from being eaten alive by maggots!
The Vet said it will take some time for the wounds to heal at least 3-4 week; Ed spent that period resting and recovering in his pen, unaware that another badger Crisp was in the next pen also recovering from fight wounds to the rump.
His injuries, warranted a long stay to heal, which amounted to 38 days. I have to thank Bishop’s Stortford Veterinary Hospital for their expertise in dealing with these injuries.
Ed's Injuries 2012 Click here to show and hide photographic details. These photos are of a graphic nature.
Ticks on the left and right ears
Fight wound injuries left and right side of neck also on to the rump
During his final stages of recovery he was starting to become restless and during the night’s that followed, he could be seen on the CCTV monitor scratching and chewing away at the wall lining of the pens interior; he managed at one point to breakthrough in one corner. Repairs were made to the wall on numerous occasions.
During his stay, I sought the help of the farmer who farms many of the fields within the area where Ed was found; Armed with some information he provided, I sought help from members of our badger group and of the Harlow Badger Group to survey the areas for badger setts, We checked every bit of greenery, hedge rows, woodland and Alley ways where Ed was found, in Thorley Park. We know from experience that badgers can pop up in places you would never consider as being badger territory… Time was pressing on, Ed’s sett needed to be found; I was beginning to worry that we would not find where he came from and would have to release him in the open field near to where he was found, risking possible RTA from the roads close by; the latter was not an option I cared for… I decided to take a look on the other side of the nearby bypass; I parked up in a nearby car park and wondered where to start first as the area to survey was huge open farm land… I decided to ask a local who was returning from a walk on one of the many footpaths, if she was aware of any badger setts in the area; she said “yes” but felt they were no longer being used. She told me where they were located; I headed off along the footpath of the field which lead me to a spinney; When I arrived, I could not believe my luck, to find so many active badger setts with fresh excavations and snuffle holes; Further along the spinney I came upon an outlier sett and close by, the start of new excavations. This area had to be where he came from; To be sure of this, the only choice was to bring Ed over in the transport cage; with the latter in mind, arrangements were made with Bob Reed area representative of the HMBG to help me carry the now heavy cage across the field to the sett… Ed had put on allot of weight during his recovery and was well rounded from all the food he had eaten, would he now fit into a tunnel entrance?
It was Sunday evening of the 8th April just before 6pm. Ed was calm and settled in the cage. We arrived at the car park and started to carry him across the field, it was not long before he started to become exited, sniffing the air and clawing at the cage. In the cage with him was one of those plastic microwave dinner plates. He ripped into that like paper from frustration... He was getting more and more excited as we got closer to the setts. The heavy duty thick gauge wire mesh of the crush cage was bent in many places from his enormous strength trying to get out.
We arrived above one of the setts; it felt perhaps we should release him further along in the spinney rather than risk him being challenged by one of the badgers below! We arrived at a midway point between the main setts and the outlier sett, he had the choice then on which way to go; the cage was placed on the ground to let him have time to adjust.
The gate was opened, at first he hesitated in leaving the cage, when he did finally come out. He just casually walked down a bank, stopped briefly, turned left, away from the main setts, and headed off in the direction of where the outlier sett was located. After a while, we decided to take a walk up towards the outlier sett, where Ed was seen digging away close to the outlier sett.
This was great, particularly as a rain storm was not far off and Ed had every chance of getting underground before it came.