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.