What is a Badger?
A badger is a mammal, and is a member of the Mustelid family of animals which include Weasels, Pine Martens, Stoats, Skunks and Otters. Male Badgers are called Boars, female badgers are called Sows and young Badgers are called Cubs. It is well known for its black and white striped face and its body mainly has a grey appearance.
What do Badgers eat?
Badgers are Omnivorous and will eat a wide range of food. Their favourite food is earthworms and they also love grubs and insects larvae and are well known for destroying wasps nests to get at young larvae inside. They also eat fruit, cereals, carrion, hedgehogs and young rabbits, but will clear up any tasty tit-bits left by humans, and will often raid dustbins when hungry.
Where do Badgers live?
Badgers live in an underground tunnel complex called a sett. These can range in size from a single hole to a complex sett with over a hundred enterances. They are found over a large percentage of the UK, but are absent in much of Scotland, the Isle of Man and areas of Norfolk where the terrain is either unsuitable for digging setts, or there is insufficient food to support them. The average size of a badgers territory is 1 Km2 - although
When do Badgers breed?
Badgers can mate and concieve at anytime of the year, but die to a process called 'delayed implantation', the fertilised egg does no implant in the womb and begin to develop until late October/early November. Gestation is around 12 weeks, and virtually all badgers are therefore born within the first 2 weeks of February. Litters will usually have 2 or 3 Cubs.
What enemies do badgers have?
Badgers do not have natural enemies; they are not killed or eaten by any other animal. The only real enemy to Badgers is man. Approximately 47,000 Badgers are reported killed on Britains roads each year. In addition, several thousand Badgers are killed each year under the guise of 'TB Control', and an estimated 10,000 die due to the illegal, barbaric 'sport' of 'Badger Baiting'.
What is a Badgers best sense, and what is its worst?
A Badgers best sense is smell, followed closely by hearing. The worst sense of a Badger is sight; being a nocturnal animal and living underground means most of its life is spent in darkness.
How do Badgers recognise each other?
Badgers, as will all members of the Mustelid family, use scent marking, or 'Musking' to recognise members of their own family. Scent marking is also used to mark their pathways, boundaries or territories, where latrines are found. Badgers intruding from a different territory will have a different scent and will therefore be quickly identified. It is believed that Badgers destinctive facial stripes are also used at night to aid recognition.
How many Badgers are there?
There are 9 species of Badgers in the world, but only one found in the UK, the European or Eurasian Badger, Meles Meles. Studies are undertaken regularly to determine the population of Badgers in the UK, and the results of the most recent survey showed an estimated population of 370,000 Badgers. The previous surveys showed a population of 550,000 Badgers in 1986, and 250,000 Badgers in 1991.
What protection do Badgers have?
Badgers are now fully protected by law. The Protection of Badgers Act in 1992 makes all the following actions illegal:
Killing, or attempting to kill a Badger
Taking, or attempting to take a Badger
Digging for a Badger
Cruelly treating a Badger
Possessing a dead Badger
Having a live Badger under your control
Interfering with a Badger sett (Without a government licence issued first)
Allowing or causing a dog to enter a sett
Penalties for the offences are up to £5000 fine/or 6 months imprisonment, for each Badger involved, multiple penalties being cumulative. For example, a person found guilty of being in possession of 6 illegally killed Badgers could be liable for a fine of up to £30,000 or up to 3 years imprisonment. In addition, the offender can be banned from keeping dogs for an unlimited period, and any dogs, vehicles or equipment used in the commission of the offence(s) may be impounded and destroyed.
How do I find out more about Badgers?
Your local library will have some books on Badgers and may have contact details for your local Badger Protection Group. Some vets will also have contact details for local groups. Badger Trust (Formerly the National Federation of Badger Groups) Is a charity which works with all the registered Badger groups in the UK, and will be happy to provide details of local groups on request. Here are the details of the Badger Trust:
Badger Trust, PO Box 708, East Grinstead, RH19 2WN
Telephone: 0845 828 7878, Fax: 0238 0238 3896
Or you can contact us via the contact page and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.