Like the red fox, the badger is another of the most iconic animals in the UK, with their distinctive black and white striped faces being their most striking feature. They have a grey body, black ears with a white tip, black hair on their legs and chest, a short fluffy tail and long strong claws. Badgers weigh between 8-12kg. They are mostly seen during the night. Badgers are very territorial and will defend their areas which can result in fights and injury.
Badgers live underground in tunnels and chambers known as 'setts' in mixed sex social groups known as a 'clan.' Some larger setts are passed down through generations of social groups of badgers. Badger cubs are born once a year usually around February in a chamber in their sett where they will stay until they are around 8-12 weeks old. They are born blind and hairless.
Males are known as boars and females are known as sows.
Badgers are omnivores and mainly eat earthworms but if earthworms are scarce, they will also eat other insects such as slugs and snails, small mammals such as rats and mice, fruit, amphibian such as frogs and toads and birds eggs.
Badgers and their setts are protected by law under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. if you suspect that a badger has been harmed or their sett has been tampered with, please contact the police immediately. Badger baiting with dogs has been against the law since 1835 but still goes on today. Again, if you suspect this is occurring please contact the police.
Over the last decade or so, badgers have been inaccurately and unfairly blamed for the decline in the hedgehog population. Badgers will occasionally eat hedgehogs if their usual food source is scarce. A report done in 2018 by The People's Trust for Endangered Species and The Hedgehog Preservation Society concluded the decline in hedgehog population was mainly down to habitat loss. You can read the report here.