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The Pros And Cons Of Badgers In Your Wildlife Garden

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 9 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
The Pros And Cons Of Badgers In Your Wildlife Garden

Badgers often produce a wide and varied response from gardeners. To some it can be a delight to watch badgers going about their business in your garden under the cover of darkness whilst for others, they can be perceived as a genuine pest. Indeed, they can cause a lot of damage to both your wildlife garden and to other creatures which live within it. However, if you do like the thought of badgers visiting your garden, here are some useful tips to achieving that and also things you should be aware of.

What Is A Badger's Habitat?

Badgers are unlikely to make their home in your garden. They live in social groups or 'families', although that does not necessarily mean that they work in co-operation with one and other. They will usually make their home or 'sett' in the countryside and then will establish territory around the sett which may include your garden. The size of this territory can vary tremendously depending on the size of a particular resident badger community.

What Do Badgers Eat?

Badgers are omnivorous creatures and their diet is very varied. Their staple diet is usually one of earthworms and insect larvae but they will also eat flower bulbs, vegetables, and fruit - which means they can be a terror in the garden - and are very keen on peanuts, raisins and bread and some specialists provide badger food which you can put out.

Are Badgers Dangerous?

Badgers don't really have any real predators, except for humans so they are extremely reluctant to come into contact with people and would not attack you under any circumstances usually and they'd simply scurry off if they detected human presence nearby in a wildlife garden. However, an injured or sick badger might take up refuge inside or underneath a garden shed and, if it is cornered, it could feasibly attack as a form of defence. Likewise, if a badger is trapped, it could lash out in a bid for freedom. Neither would a badger attack a pet such as a dog but if the dog was likely to attack or harass a badger, it would be better to keep your dog in overnight.

Why Do Some People See Badgers As Pests?

Many with a wildlife garden wish to deter badgers from entering their garden for a number of reasons. Firstly, they will kill and eat many other types of small mammals such as rabbits and hedgehogs which you might be trying to attract into your wildlife garden. On the plus side however, if you dislike mice and rats, badgers also eat them too. The other main reason that they are disliked by some is that they can cause a vast amount of destruction to your garden if they choose to build their sett within it. Your garden might end up being a maze of dug up tunnels and they'll often build a latrine in your garden into which they'll deposit their scat. They will also drag other things like grass, leaves and other material in your wildlife garden to where they are looking to build a nest for breeding purposes.

However, they are remarkable creatures to observe and, being nocturnal, if you have night vision binoculars and any suitable photographic equipment, they can be highly interesting to watch as they go about their business at night in your wildlife garden. Children, in particular, can learn a lot from observing badgers and as well as removing certain unwanted pests from the garden, to observe them can be highly educational as long as they are visitors and have not taken up residency in your garden and you don't mind a little bit of disruption. They are a protected species by law, however, so if you do encounter any problems with them, you should seek advice from your local badger conservation group or RSPCA before attempting to move them yourself.

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[Add a Comment]
Barbee - Your Question:
Is it normal for a badger to kill a rabbit and leave it? One of my rabbits was killed Tuesday night, but she was just left in my backyard. I don't do well with seeing dead animals, but I had to bury her as I have a dog as well, and he's already losing his mind trying to dig her up. Also, is it normal for a baby rabbit to not want to leave a secure area after losing it's mom?

Our Response:
It's more likely to have been a fox and yes it would be common for a baby rabbit to be afraid to leave its home/bed if it had seen its mother killed or didn't know where she was.
WildlifeGardener - 10-Mar-17 @ 11:14 AM
Is it normal for a badger to kill a rabbit and leave it? One of my rabbits was killed Tuesday night, but she was just left in my backyard. I don't do well with seeing dead animals, but I had to bury her as I have a dog as well, and he's already losing his mind trying to dig her up. Also, is it normal for a baby rabbit to not want to leave a secure area after losing it's mom?
Barbee - 9-Mar-17 @ 8:09 AM
@KeithL. We too have seen young ones dashing about. It seems all young animals just love to play! We have terrrible problems with them though as they like to dig up lawns..mostly our nieghbour's though.
Mrs Tiggywinkle - 20-Feb-17 @ 2:39 PM
I got a trailcam for Christmas and it has been great for watching badgers in my large, rural garden. I have been surprised at their speed. Most references say "...up to 25mph when frightened", but my latest footage shows one young one apparently racing around for fun, as he (?) rushes about in all directions. Any comments on how unusual this might be?
KeithL - 18-Feb-17 @ 10:46 AM
marky c - Your Question:
I have just taken possession of a piece of land. by squatting. I came across a dead badger. I haven't touched itt only covered. It. With a piece of tin.it looks unmarked. what would you suggest I. Do.

Our Response:
We're not really sure what your question is?
WildlifeGardener - 14-Feb-17 @ 11:51 AM
I have just taken possession of a piece of land . by squatting . I came across a dead badger . I haven't touched itt only covered. It.With a piece of tin .it looks unmarked . what would you suggest I. Do.
marky c - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:24 AM
Mike - Your Question:
I have moved into a house and found that it has a badger sett at the bottom of the garden. I don't have a problem with this as such, but wondered if there are legal/protection issues that I should be aware of? Couldn't find much through Google. They are out of the way and not digging near to anything in particular.

Our Response:
In general, you should just make sure you don't interfere with the sett (e.g. damage, destroy or block access to the entranceor allow your dog to enter it etc). If you feel you are likely to have to disturb the sett in any way or find that the badgers are causing serious damage to your property, you may have to apply for a "licence to interfere with a sett" from Natural England.
WildlifeGardener - 10-Jan-17 @ 12:11 PM
I have moved into a house and found that it has a badger sett at the bottom of the garden. I don't have a problem with this as such, but wondered if there are legal/protection issues that I should be aware of? Couldn't find much through Google. They are out of the way and not digging near to anything in particular.
Mike - 9-Jan-17 @ 12:17 PM
We have a fox in our garden that comes in with a hedgehog but recently a badger has been in tow too. Is this normal them all coming in together.It's not a very big garden
Kim - 14-Oct-16 @ 7:51 PM
A badger got into my rabbits very secure hutch and run last night. Fortunately I heard the commotion and scared him away. I would like to know the likely hood of it returning! I don't think he is hurt but seems very subdued!
Essie - 26-Aug-16 @ 3:27 PM
Tubbs - Your Question:
The other day I saw a young fox jump over the top of a badger in the garden is this usual behaviour

Our Response:
Yes it is very unusual, not something we've come across before.
WildlifeGardener - 5-Aug-16 @ 2:45 PM
The other day I saw a young fox jump over the top of a badger in the garden is this usual behaviour
Tubbs - 2-Aug-16 @ 10:14 PM
@triflepink. That may be the case, but as you have not actually seen an attack, it IS only an assumption.
WildlifeGardener - 5-May-15 @ 2:27 PM
I have a very friendly 4 year old female cat. One day she came running in and seemed scared. I could see she was not eating properly and discovered all her teeth had gone. They were in excellent condition. I then discovered we had a badger at the bottom of the garden which had practically destroyed an old tree truck by scratching it away. I now suppose it was the badger that attacked the cat and that is why she is frightened and will not go out or come near anyone. So they will attack animals.
Triflepink - 28-Apr-15 @ 11:09 AM
@cupcake. Foxes do use faeces to mark territory and you will most often see them in obvious places. This should not prevent problems as long as it's cleaned up before allowing children to play, just as you would any other animal excrement. Foxes and badgers will generally keep away from humans, but even so, it is not advisable to allow young children to play in your garden while the foxes are "sunbathing".Make sure young children are supervised at all times, as we're sure you do anyway. There is some more information about foxes in the garden here.
WildlifeGardener - 11-Mar-15 @ 12:28 PM
I moved into my property 18m ago in Redland, Bristol andwithin a month I had seen badgers in my garden. My next door neighbours had lived there for 30 years and never seen them ben though I saw them go into her garden too. I also have 2 foxes who like to sunbathe in my garden in the afternoon. I am a childminder and so have small kids in my garden quite a lot, is there anything I should be aware of or be careful of? Will they leave faeces in my garden? I haven't noticed any yet. Thanks for any advice.
Cupcake - 8-Mar-15 @ 9:22 AM
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