The European Badger is one of the most common large omnivores seen in Britain. They are predominantly nocturnal, and live underground in burrows. In this country, they are mosly seen dead, killed by traffic as they cross the road. In fact I had never seen a live one, until this afternoon.
Livestock farmers hate them, as they are blamed for carrying TB, and infecting cattle. They are routinely trapped and killed here, as well as being gassed in their burrows, which are called ‘Setts’.
As with many wild animals, lack of human activity during the pandemic lockdown has made them bolder, and they have been extending their territories.
Over in the darker wooded section of Hoe Rough this afternoon, Ollie stopped dead, looking across at the undergrowth. I could also hear what had attracted his attention, a loud rustling, accompanied by a snuffling sound. I thought at first it might be another dog, but then a large badger appeared, very much like the one in the photo above.
Ollie had also never seen a badger, but he was instictively off after it, feeling the need to hunt it down. I tried calling him back, as badgers have sharp teeth and claws, so could have given my dog an injury. I also didn’t want Ollie to hurt the animal. But he was having none of it, and was circling the dense area of overgrown bracken where the badger had gone to ground. Luckily, he got bored (and too hot) soon enough, and Ollie’s first badger hunt was over.
Until the next time.