I was once advised that one should 'look at the detail, not the scene'. How true those words are when it comes to looking for wildlife, and for observing badgers in particular.
Stay upwind of the sett, keep still and quiet and don’t get too close, then badger watching can bring you moments to treasure for a lifetime.
Until a few years ago, like most people, the only time that I ever saw a badger, sadly was as a forlorn hump lying dead at the side of the road. I have since found that if you make the effort to go looking for these iconic animals you will be in for a wildlife treat! Their world will open up to you.
Badgers usually prefer to make their homes in a bankside to assist with drainage and these setts can often be spotted some distance away identified by a mini mountain of freshly disturbed earth.
Once you have discovered your sett the fun begins, from mid May the cubs make their first appearance in the outside world and under the guidance of the adults explore the area close to the sett and can often be observed in the hours of daylight for the rest of the summer months.
REMEMBER THESE ARE WILD ANIMALS AND SHOULD NOT BE DISTURBED, BUT VIEWED FROM A DISTANCE.
By watching from a distance natural behaviour can be observed which always yields better photos and makes the entire experience more enjoyable. Always stay downwind as badgers have an excellent sense of smell and hearing. Whilst their eyesight isn't great, it is best to dress in subdued coloured clothing and to make use of any natural cover. I use a baghide which works very well. A few well placed peanuts will hold their attention while you take a few pictures and 'boy, do badgers love peanuts!'
To be able to sit in the presence of these wonderful animals as they go about their daily business of feeding,collecting bedding and playing is an experience that will stay with you
for a long, long time.
Unfortunately as with many species of wildlife badgers are persecuted from various sections of the community and need our help and this can be done by reporting any sett
disturbances or cruelty to the police as they have a wildlife crime unit and also to your local badger group which can be found online.
Badgers face a number of threats such as badger bating by criminal gangsters, injury or death from road collisions and the legal slaughter (culling) as an attempt to reduce Bovine Tuberculosis, see Eye on Badgers for more details.