Nature & Wildlife Journal

Finding Perfect Evidence of Badgers

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A Very Lucky Night to See 3 Different Species of Wildlife: Badger, Fox and Hedgehog (Part 1)

Early last month, Josh and I had a stroll in the woods near where we live. Not only do foxes and deer live here, but also badgers, so he suggested we pick a day and come back at dusk for badger watching. Being excited about the idea, I said yes! and we focused on finding evidence of badgers as we walked. The traces of badgers we were looking for included badger setts and pits, which would play an important role to determine where we should return to have the maximum chance to spot a badger.

Finding evidence of badgers in the UK - badger setts have an arc-shaped ceiling and a flatter bottom at the entrance. Also a clear path is shown like a drive to the entrance, where the centre part is dug and each side has piled up soil (like a road with snow piled up on either side). - Photo taken by me, Sehee in the World

One of the clues for working out where badgers live is arc-shaped setts with a clear path leading to the entrance, like above. On this occasion, this group of badgers cleverly used a tree trunk that had fallen over as the arc roof and dug a hole beneath it. And their drive to the sett was also clear and fairly new as the soil was freshly dug up and put either side. This happens naturally as they keep going in and out to the sett; because while badgers are quite big, their legs are relatively short – clearing a path with their body.

Finding evidence of badgers in the UK - alongside the badger trail, we saw a footprint of a badger - Photo taken by me, Sehee in the World

Josh pointed out that this sett was 100% certainly still being used by the badgers. We saw no cobwebs in the entrance of the sett; the surroundings were very neatly maintained; there was a footprint of a badger just by the trail (the yellow circle in the photo above); and a lot of fresh droppings* that were definitely badgers’ in nearby pits!

(*Just to let you know – the photo below shows badger droppings)

Finding evidence of badgers in the UK - badgers dig up pits for toilets and leave their droppings in them. - Photo taken by me, Sehee in the World

I learned badgers are neat as they create separate toilets outside their setts! Though I took only one photo of these pits, we saw several ones full of droppings. They were also fresh, not dried out, at which point we were 200% certain to return here for badger watching.

Finding evidence of badgers in the UK - badgers leave clear paths because their body is low to the ground as they walk - they are one of the UK's largest land mammals after all. - Photo taken by me, Sehee in the World

As we decided where to come back for badger watching, we moved on to working out an exit route. Finding the easiest way was key; because although we would be still able to see at dusk as we entered, it’d be completely dark by the time we finished finding badgers. Personally, this was the major obstacle to say yes to badger watching in the wild as I could foresee myself getting scared in the woods in the dark, with lots of steep slopes and a river to cross!

We followed a relatively flat and clean area, and found another sign badgers had left. Although in daylight we could only see the evidence of badgers, we’ve got a great imagination skills! – It was entertaining just to imagine all these cute badgers coming out from their setts when the night comes and bustling along the paths. I felt as if I was walking in the middle of their downtown. I decided to call this area ‘Badger City’.

After coming back home we checked the weather forecast on upcoming days and set a d-day for badger watching: 15th of September.

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