Posted 6th Apr 2018
Get ready to set up a night-watch on a sett and prepare to be enchanted by badgers who go about their business
The badger is one of our most easily recognised mammals and the largest land carnivore. Yet for most us, the only time you will get to see one is as a sad casualty at the side of the road, or perhaps as a bumbling bottom rapidly crossing a country lane picked out by the car headlights.
As a very sociable animal, the badger will live in large established family groups in an extensive burrow system known as a 'sett', which the family will inhabit for many generations. Nocturnal animals, they will only emerge as dusk falls. However, before heading out for a night of feeding, they will have socialising to do.
Badger society is a tight knit community, with the animals spending time chatting, playing, fighting and scratching together. Parents will groom their cubs, making sure the kids look their best and are washed behind their ears, while cousins will play around a fallen log. A father will clear out the old bedding, dragging it to a heap nearby, and a grumpy old grandmother will tell them all to keep the noise down. It's impossible to watch a badger family and not to start getting to know all the different characters.
Nocturnal and usually shy of people, watching badgers on their home turf will be a real eye opener.
How to do it
Your local Wildlife Trust or badger group could have badger watching events for you to join. Dress in dark clothing made of soft material that will not rustle or creak too much. Keep the noise down, avoid using torches or flash photography, and sit so the wind is blowing from the sett towards you, not the other way around.
Away from their setts, badgers can sometimes be encouraged to feeding stations, and are particularly partial to peanuts. But be warned - if you're a keen gardener, a family of badgers visiting your garden could be bad news for your lawn and flower bed.
Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts / image courtesy of © Wildstock