Badger (Meles meles)


Habitat : Tracks : Other Signs : Droppings


Badgers are found in most parts of mainland Britain across a wide variety of habitats. Typically, they are creatures of mature woodland with nearby pasture, but they do occasionally visit gardens and there are a few communities that live in suburban areas.


Badger setts may be nothing more than one or two holes, 30 – 40cm across, dug into the soil of a bank, right up to vast networks of holes and tunnels that have been worked and reworked over decades, or in some cases centuries of use. These larger, well established setts may have entrances that are significantly wider than the tunnel they lead to. Distinctive features of a sett include a large and well trodden spoil heap and, definitively, shreds of bedding at or near the entrance. Bedding come in the form of any vegetation, from dry leaves to hay, fresh green grass or even nettles.

Badger clans average 5 – 7 adults and a number of cubs and sub-adult animals. Cubs generally emerge above ground for the first time in the spring – from the second half of April in southern England.


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You are most likely to see a badger print in damp soil. A perfect badger print reveals five toes running across the front of the print almost in a straight line, and distinctive deep claw marks in front of each toe.

Look for sign that badgers have passed beneath a barbed wire fence. Their coarse fur is easy to identify by virtue of its colour, which, perhaps surprisingly, is not grey but creamy white at the base, followed by a black band, and pale again at the tip. If you try to roll a badger hair between your finger and thumb, you will find that it is flattened dorsally, and so does not roll easily.

Badger Print Photo Badger Print Illustrations


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Other Signs


Badgers frequently use the same pathway, time and again, between the sett and a favorite foraging area. Often the ground shows a distinct vegetation type (like creeping buttercup) or is worn completely bare by their repeated comings and goings. Paths are 10 -15cm wide


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Badgers uniquely dig shallow holes or ‘dung pits’ for their droppings. Latrines are especially common where the boundary of two clan territories meet and represent a sort of smelly borderline.

The dung within varies in colour from earth brown (the most common hue due to the animal’s main diet of worms) to black or even purple if they have been feeding on berries. The form of the dung may be sausage shaped or semi-liquid, depending on the badgers diet.

Badger DroppingsBadger-TS-Poo-2


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