Scientific name: Meles meles
Nature Stars: 50
The Badger is our biggest land predator, a member of the Mustelid family and related to Stoats, Weasels and Otters. The Badger is just as common as the Red Fox, but more nocturnal and shyer in their habits. Badgers live in large family groups, in a burrow system known as a 'sett'. An occupied sett can be recognised by the clean, tidy burrow entrances, with piles of used bedding (hay and leaves) and with latrine pits nearby where they leave their droppings. They feed on small mammals, ground-nesting birds, earthworms, fruit and underground roots and bulbs, which they dig up with their strong front paws. Baby badgers are born in January or February, but spend the first two or three months underground, only emerging in the spring. Young males wander away from their family sett in the spring to find a mate, and are at particular risk of being run over on the roads.
Read even more about the badger on its Feature Creature page!
How to identify: An unmistakable animal, large and grey, with a short fluffy tail, black belly and paws and the familiar black and white striped face.
Where: Found throughout England, Wales, most of Scotland each for the far north, and Northern Ireland. Absent from Scottish Islands, the Isle of Man, the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands.
Fantastic fact: Badgers are particularly keen on peanuts: if there are badgers nearby, they can be tempted into your garden by leaving peanuts out at night, but be careful: they will dig up your lawn!
Photograph credit: Wildstock