Animals' Voice celebrates Badger Day

6 October 2023

In celebration of National Badger Day and a key symbol of our beloved countryside, Animals Voice celebrates one of our most beloved animals.

When you think of the countryside, woodlands and badgers are some of the first thoughts that come to mind. However, despite being one of the well-known members of the countryside, many people haven't seen badgers, as they're nocturnal.

During the day, they live within their clans or family groups underground in setts they've dug out with razor-sharp claws. Most badger setts are built within woodland areas, where they are sheltered, and they emerge at night to forage for food.

Their name derives from the French language; badger comes from the word "Bucher", which translates as a digger. Their powerful front claws help them to dig their setts and also dig for their food. They are big fans of mealworms, which comprise over three-quarters of their diet.

As the largest land predator, badgers are an incredibly social species. Living together in family groups, a group of badgers is known as a cete. Though they spend much of their time underground in the daytime, badgers don't like a mess; they will only sometimes bring food into their homes, or go to the toilet in their setts.

There are 11 different species of badgers globally, and they enjoy an omnivore's diet, including fruit, seeds and small mammals, including frogs, birds and insects. The type of badgers we see in the UK and across Europe have black and white stripes.

Badgers don't hibernate; however, they use the autumn months to add extra weight in preparation for winter. The body fat they store in the autumn helps them in the winter. During the winter, they sleep for longer to preserve energy.

How can you help badgers?

Badgers are known to visit people's gardens; therefore, providing fresh food and water is helpful to them, especially when food is more scarce. Winter is when the ground is more likely to be frozen, so sourcing food such as mealworms is much more difficult.

They will always be grateful for fresh water, and leaving out wet canned cat or dog food or fruits and mealworms can help them supplement their diets. Try to leave the food out at the same time each night, which helps to encourage them to visit at set times. Only leave enough food to help supplement their diets. The aim should never be for them to become reliant on you for their primary food source and venture into other people's gardens who might not be as keen.