Badgers really are curious creatures – certainly a British staple, these countryside wanderers are icons of the English plains and woodlands, building their setts and largely coming out to roam at night. However, you will often find badgers across the world, with cousins of the main breed such as the fearsome honey badger roaming the US!
But how much do you really know about badgers? What are they like in terms of diet and behaviour? If you don’t know much about these black and white beasties beyond Queen legend Brian May’s campaigning for their conservation, it’s high time you clued yourself up on a few interesting facts about badgers. We’re here to help – read on and find out more!
Many people may not know just how long and complex a sett can be. A sett is an underground tunnel which a badger – or family of badgers – uses to make a home. They can be up to 100 metres long, which is perfect for long sleeps in!
Badgers are very similar to creatures and critters such as the common hedgehog and many species of owl in the sense that you probably won’t spot them during the day too often. They really are a rare right! That’s why nature spotters set up night vision cameras to try and spot these beasties when they are actively exploring at night.
Believe it or not, a badger is always likely to designate their own special bathroom space outside a sett! This is because badgers are – bizarrely – compulsively clean. Therefore, it’s unlikely a badger will ever go to the toilet where they stand – they have a posh little en suite for that!
Badgers tend to be super social with one another – with some badger clans extending for centuries. They are creatures which are very strong on family strength, meaning that it’s not uncommon for multiple generations of badgers living together at any one time.
Badgers also love to make things comfy. Their underground setts don’t just have external toilet zones, but also have comfy bedding, too! They love to forage for grass and leaves which they can take into their underground lairs for softer sleeping and resting up.
There are many different types of badger. There are around 11 in total, meaning that the badgers you normally find in the UK are likely to be much different to those you’ll see roaming across North America.
Badger lifespans tend to run as long as 10 years in the wild, but in captivity, they are known to live up to 25-26 years of age.
Badgers are loosely related to other Mustelidae mammals, which include weasels and otters.
Badger cleanliness doesn’t just extend to bathroom habits, either. They won’t take their dinners into their setts, either – meaning that you’ll never find the badger equivalent of eating biscuits in bed! Some of us could learn a thing or two from these creatures!
Believe it or not, badgers rarely – if ever – hibernate. Instead, during the colder months, they simply choose to become less active, meaning that they will likely spend just over a day of rest whenever they need to. Does this give them an edge as a predator? Maybe not, but it’s interesting that they don’t need to take such long slumbers.
Believe it or not, the super-cute dachshund was bred to help bring badgers out of their setts. Thankfully, sausage dogs aren’t used for such purposes nowadays – though we can’t ever imagine a dachshund taking on a burly badger any time soon!
Badgers tend to eat just about anything and everything. They love fruit, vegetables, and bulbs, though they are also known to feast on worms and hedgehogs. Hedgehogs generally protect themselves well against predators, though their spines don’t deter badgers – and given than both are nocturnal, the spiny critters really need to keep their eyes peeled!
That said, a badger will only munch on a hedgehog if worm populations are sparse. They need to be a bit picky this way, but we can imagine it’s easier to prey on worms than hedgehogs!
While badgers are often considered threatened, they are not on the IUCN’s most ‘at risk’ lists.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about badgers that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!