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Are they Badger Holes?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 7 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Are They Badger Holes?

Q.

I have just started walking my dog in the nearby fields made up of alpha, soybeans and setaside land. I have seen large holes in setaside fields about 10" diameter, with a second hole about 12" from the first.

I think they may be badger holes. I am questioning my and the dogs safety from attack. We walk in full daylight. The dog has not messed with the holes.
Should I stay away from this area?

(Mrs V F, 15 September 2008)

A.

From your description, the holes appear to be very indicative that they have been made by a badger. A badger’s home is called a ‘sett’ and many setts are made up of numerous entrance holes beneath which will be several chambers and tunnels. They’re usually shaped a little like a letter ‘D’ which has been placed on its side and tend to be anything between around 8 inches and a foot in diameter.

You mention that your dog has not messed with the holes so there wouldn’t be any problem for you to continue to walk it in the area. Generally speaking, badgers will avoid dogs as long as they’re not cornered by them as they’re not vicious creatures. However, if they felt under threat by a dog, they would be prepared to attack it as a form of defence and, particularly if your dog is small, injuries can result. Being bitten by a badger can also result in the spread of disease. That said, there is no real problem here so long as your dog shows no interest in the holes.

The other important thing to remember, however, is that badgers are a protected species under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. There are numerous offences covered under this Act including disturbing a badger whilst occupying a sett as well as any damage to the sett – man made or caused by a dog. As you’ll probably be aware, badger baiting is an illegal activity, punishable by a fine of up to £5000 and it can even result in imprisonment. And, whilst all that you are doing is walking your dog, for the purposes of the offences contained within the legislation, it is assumed that a person whose dog interferes with a sett is guilty of trying to dig for, injure or even kill badgers unless it can be proven otherwise.

However, as long as your dog isn’t interfering with the sett, then you can rest assured that if there are any badgers in the area, they are not going to rush out and attack your dog. So, as long as you have permission to walk your dog on this land, there aren’t going to be any problems.

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A few years ago my wife and I were walking near Middleton in Teesdale on a wet day. When we were approaching a yew tree at the side of the path we saw a black object in some twiggy sideshoots on the yew and assumed that it was a blackbird. As we got nearer to the tree we were amazed to see that it was a mole which was "snuffling" about in the damp leaves. We took some photographs and, in due course, when the mole dropped to the ground, my wife filmed its departure and disappearance into the undergrowth. Firstly, we had no idea that moles could climb trees and, secondly, what was it doing? If it needed to drink water it could have got it from the leaves on ground plants instead of climbing about a metre off the ground!
CrissCross - 7-Nov-17 @ 8:43 PM
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